Superintendent: Park High School Native American Emblem Will Be Removed

March 21, 2018 11:55 AM

The above video aired with a related story on Feb. 27.


An emblem of the former Native American mascot of Park High School, engraved into the school's floor, will be removed amid recent controversy and more than 20 years after the school changed its mascot.

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South Washington County Schools Superintendent Keith Jacobus issued a statement on the district's website last week announcing the removal of the mascot from the Cottage Grove school.

Jacobus indicated the decision, spurred by student concern over cultural insensitivity, would not require approval by the school board. However, Jacobus indicated he had sufficient support from the board for removal if it came to a vote.

RELATED: Native American Emblem Divides Some in Cottage Grove

The statement notes the high school changed its mascot from the Park Indians to the Park Wolfpack in the early 1990s in response to a state board of education resolution condemning the use of mascots or symbols depicting American Indian culture. 

With the change, the school removed all Native American signage and changed team uniforms, the statement explains. The logo on the floor remained, however.

Jacobus wrote that district officials spent a month researching the issue, including speaking with a student representative of the committee recommending the mascot change, teachers and staff. 

"Knowing the research, knowing the negative impact this symbol has on some of our students at Park High School and knowing the decision to remove the mascot was already made more than 20 years ago, the emblem should never have remained," Jacobus wrote in the statement. 

The statement says that no timeline for removal has been set. 

Credits

Michael Oakes

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