HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) — The Hays USD 489 community could soon be debating on whether or not to change the high school’s mascot: The Hays High Indians.
That’s why the district held a community conversation Tuesday night. The district’s superintendent says the goal of the meeting was not to make any final decisions or changes but rather to create a “launch point” to gauge how the Hays community feels about the district’s branding moving forward.
“Hays definitely has a long history of, and a rich tradition of, having the Indian mascot, but we just wanted to confirm that’s who our community wanted to be,” Hays USD 489 Superintendent Ron Wilson said.
With the district transitioning to new locations for high school and middle school students, Wilson says the community must have a say in the schools’ future branding.
“If we’re looking at a change, which I’m not anticipating that will be the case, but if it is the case, then I think it will be a long process,” Wilson said.
Tuesday’s district discussion comes less than a week after the Kansas Board of Education recommended roughly two dozen school districts across the state get rid of Native American mascots and logos.
For Hays USD 489, a committee is expected to be formed to further the discussion.
“Well, I am a Hays High Indian. I’m pretty proud of that. I think I’m like everybody else. I’d like to hear what the committee has to say,” said Kirk Maska, Hays High School 1978 graduate.
Fellow graduate Kyle Eilts says while he understands how both sides feel, a change is still needed.
“I think there’s gonna be more people open to a change than they realize. It depends on whose argument, you know, is put together better,” Eilts said.