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Public debates high school mascot name change

UPDATE: 11:35 P.M.

The school board decided to continue the discussion over the mascot. It will hold a working session on July 16 at 6 p.m. at Driggs Elementary School.


Many came out to the Teton School District board meeting in Driggs on Monday night to give their opinion on the high school’s mascot. Some wore T-shirts in support of keeping the mascot the Redskins. Those in support say they are honoring Native Americans with the name.

“The Redskin name encompasses the historic spirit of our early native warriors,” said Laurie Hillman, who is in favor of keeping the mascot. “So, why would anyone want to change the name? It would be like someone wishing to change liberty in the Liberty Bell because someone didn’t like its crack.”

Those opposed to the mascot say it is a racial slur and offensive to Native American tribes.

“The people that want to keep the mascot keep saying they’re honoring Native Americans,” said Michelle, a Native American woman who wishes to change the mascot. “You cannot choose what honors Native Americans. It’s not anyone’s decision but the Native Americans themselves.”

There has been a lot of controversy in recent months surrounding the potential change. There was an attempt to change it in 2013 that failed. Many who spoke agree that the subject is dividing the area.

“It is my belief that when a mascot has grown this divisive, it can no longer be considered a mascot at all,” said Mason Moore, a Teton High School student who wants to change the mascot.

Those who support keeping the name say they are the majority and the school board speaks for them. Many even said it would affect how they vote on future school issues that require taxpayer funding.

“This voice is very dominant here,” said Rochelle Fullmer, who wants to keep the mascot. “It is the voice that votes in the levees, your bonds and that will shut our wallets down.”

The meeting is still taking place. We will update this story once there are more developments.

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