The Putnam County School Board will consider the creation of a committee to consider whether or not to change to Algood Middle School mascot.
The board will consider the issue at its Thursday meeting. Director Of Schools Corby King said the members should include those with ties to the Algood community, including parents, faculty and school personnel, and member of the alumni group. The eight to ten committee members will be selected by March.
“There is not an easy way around this for us,” King said. “I don’t think there’s an appetite from the Algood community necessarily or alumni to want to change the logo there.”
King said many Native Americans, including representatives who have reached out to the school system, consider Redskins to be a derogatory term.
“I don’t think (the Algood) community feels racist about that, or believes that to be a racist term,” King said. “I do believe in that community they feel like they are honoring the Native American heritage and what’s there. But it’s misplaced, it seems.”
At Saturday’s Winter School Board Work Session, King told school board members he saw two alternatives for the system. King said the school board could make the decision to change the name and appoint a committee to decide on the new mascot.
Option two, would be the creation of a committee to explore whether to make the change. King said his concern would be that people have already made a decision on how they believe the issue should be handled.
“I don’t think you’re going to change any body’s mind,” King said. “I don’t know that we’re going to find consensus out of the committee.”
“I would not like for the school board to say ‘we’re going to change this,’ that would be arbitrary,” School Board Member Jerry Maynard said. “I think the other people need to have input into that and then when they come back with their recommendation, it’s back in our lap.”
The total elimination of the Redskins name and an Indian-reference logo would cost some $70,000 including signage, the refurbishing of the gym floor, helmets and jerseys, and the creation of the logo. The majority of the cost would be the gym floor refurbishment. However, the school system has setup a regular maintenance schedule to take care of floor restorations. King said Algood Middle School could simply be moved up on the list.
If the system simply removed the name Redskin and kept an Indian logo, the cost would be reduced. School Board Chair Lyn McHenry said he has received correspondence from those against the name.
“The majority of those wants to do away with the whole image of Indian at all,” McHenry said.
The committee will be charged with examining the middle school name but could also explore the Algood elementary school mascot.
“There’s no way you are going to please everyone,” School Board Member Kim Craves said. “But it’s here.”
“The longer we delay, the more it’s going to fester,” Maynard said.