Should it stay or should it go: Wichitans weigh in on North High mascot

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Should it stay or should it go? After the Washington NFL team announced Monday it will be retiring its team name and mascot, many Wichitans took to social media asking if Wichita North High School should do the same.

“It’s time to end this mascot, and its time to look for something else something that will still represent the spirit of North High School, but not something that even a small portion of our population would find offensive,” said Stephanie Byers, former North High teacher.

Byers says this isn’t the first time the topic has been discussed.  

“The issue of the mascot came up several different times, and typically, it kind of got pushed aside,” said Byers.

Former North High student, Trev Williams suggests the school’s logo should remain the same.

“Being a North High Redskin is more than just a name. We had Native American teachers, we had Native American dancers that would come in and, you know, do the war cries, do the dances,” said Williams. “Back then, they taught us about Native American culture and to appreciate them and to love them.”

He says he sports his love for the school on more than just his clothes.

“Once a Redskin, always a Redskin,” said Williams. “I got it tattooed on me. I am a Redskin. They change this name what are they going to do, they going to pay me to get a new tattoo?”

Wichita Public Schools shared the following statement with KSN News:

We received many questions regarding North High’s mascot in light of national discussions. The Wichita Public Schools and the Wichita Board of Education agree that it is time to have a community conversation to change the North High mascot. WPS has been in conversations with representatives from the Native American community recently. The Board of Education will hold its first public discussion on this topic on July 30, with a plan developed for community engagement to follow.

Wichita Public Schools

Williams says the re-branding can be costly to the school.

“Who is going to pay for this re-branding of an entire school?” Who is going to write the new Alma Matter? He says part of this controversy is due to the cancel culture in the country.

Byers says she was involved in designing the school’s band uniforms. She says the mascot displayed on the uniform can easily be replaced.

“The mascot that is on the uniform is readily and easily replaced, so the cost has been built-in to be minimized for making those changes.

I will support North High School in whichever direction they decide to go. I’m not afraid of change if 259 thinks it’s appropriate. I’m very proud to be a product of 259! I will continue to support 259 regardless. I hope that the issues can be resolved quickly in order to focus on the safety of our students, staff, and facilities amongst this pandemic crisis.

Said Wichita War Dancer

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