Student Well-Being

California High Schools Move Toward Dropping ‘Redskins’ Mascots

By Bryan Toporek — February 18, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In the wake of a new state law barring any public school from having a “Redskins” mascot, at least two California high schools have begun the process of making such a switch.

Gustine High School, one of the four high schools in California that began the school year with a “Redskins” mascot, became the first to officially announce a change after its district’s school board voted unanimously last week to switch to the “Reds,” per Brianna Calix of the Merced Sun Star. Local historian Pat Snoke told the paper the school originally had “Reds” as its mascot back in 1913, but it switched to “Redskins” in the mid-1930s due to the threat of communism.

Gustine Unified Superintendent Bill Morones said the district hopes to have the mascot and all necessary changes in place by the start of the 2016-17 school year. It’s waiting to hear about whether the state will help cover the cost of the mascot switch, as Morones estimated changing the gymnasium floor could cost upwards of $50,000, according to the paper. In total, Morones estimates the cost of the change to be around $200,000, according to ABC 30’s Jessica Peres.

“We wanted to expedite the process because we just didn’t want this lingering over our heads, more importantly, the students, teachers, and staff,” Morones told Peres.

In October, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation banning any public high school from using “Redskins” as a mascot, making California the first state to enact such legislation. (The Oregon board of education enacted a similar ban in 2012, but the state legislature has not followed suit.) The California bill requires schools to make the switch by Jan. 1, 2017, and prohibits the state board of education from overruling that requirement.

As for the issue of cost, if the California commission on state mandates determines the bill “contains cost mandated by the state,” California will be responsible for covering the cost of any school switching away from a “Redskins” mascot.

Aside from Gustine High School, Chowchilla Union High School, Tulare Union High School, and Calaveras High School were using “Redskins” as a mascot at the time of the law’s passage. Before the law’s passage, Tulare Union High School rallied to keep its mascot as is, enlisting the Tule River Tribal Council as an ally, according to Lewis Griswold of the Fresno Bee.

Four months later, the district finally decided to wave the white flag. It announced earlier this month that it plans on forming a committee to select a new mascot, with the board set to choose from a pool of finalists by the end of June, according to Rory Appleton of the Fresno Bee.

As of now, Chowchilla and Calaveras have yet to announce an official timeline as to when they plan on choosing a new mascot. According to Calix, “Chowchilla has said in the past it plans to leave the mascot in place until after the school celebrates its centennial anniversary in October.” Calaveras Superintendent Mark Campbell told Luis Hernandez of the Visalia Times-Delta that the school “will have a name by the next school year,” saying a committee will compile a list of choices and a vote will be held to pick the final mascot. Calavaras football coach Jason Weatherby estimated the cost of the change to be between $100,000 and $200,000, according to CBS Sacramento’s Leigh Martinez.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion Educators, Be Future-Ready, But Don’t Ignore the Present
Being ready for what lies ahead is important, but we also need to gain a better understanding of the here and now.
5 min read
shutterstock 226918177
Student Well-Being Opinion How to Prioritize Student Well-Being This Year
Use the Student Thriving Index to find out where your kids stand. Because you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Student Well-Being Spotlight Spotlight on Supporting Teachers & Students
In this Spotlight, evaluate your district and what supports your schools offer, assess attendance policies to avoid burnout, and more
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Child Hospitalizations Spike Under Delta, Particularly in Low-Vaccination States
Nationwide, the number of children and teens hospitalized due to COVID-19 has ballooned nearly tenfold since midsummer, new CDC data show.
2 min read
hopital stethescope 1222194507
Aleksandr Titov/iStock/Getty