TAMPA, Fla. — Six Hillsborough County public schools are changing their mascots.
- Hillsborough School District plans school mascot changes
- District said it is trying to show respect to Native American community
- New mascots will be suggested and voted on by students, staff and families at each school
All six have used Native American names and images.
Working with a parent advisory group representing the Native American community, all six schools have committed to choosing a new mascot for the future.
The five elementary schools and one middle school are Adams Middle School, Brooker Elementary, Forest Hills Elementary, Ruskin Elementary, Summerfield Elementary and Thonotosassa Elementary. Adams has been the Warriors, while Thonotosassa has been Chiefs and Summerfield has been the Indians. The elementary schools: Forest Hills, Brooker and Ruskin were all Braves.
School officials said Chamberlain High (Chiefs) and East Bay High (Indians) will keep their mascot names but modify rituals to be less insensitive.
According to the district, "current mascots do not respect every culture and every person in our communities.
"Using Native American images and mascots can easily reduce living human beings to the level of a cartoon, caricature or stereotype. Even when there is no bad intent, these images can carry on and spread some of the symbols of the most painful parts of our great country’s history."
Over the next few days, students, staff and families at each school will provide suggestions for their new mascot.
A ballot will then be sent home, allowing each student and staff member to vote for their favorite choice among a group of final names.
"We believe students at the high school level are better prepared to understand the differences and sensitivities around cultures," the school said in a release. "These cultural details are now part of the learning for students and is the legacy these students are leaving for future students."
Summerfield Elementary School (Courtesy of school website)
Thonotosassa Elementary School (Courtesy of school website)
Ruskin Elementary School (Courtesy of school website)
Brooker Elementary School (Courtesy of school website)
Adams Middle School (Courtesy of school website)
Forest Hills Elementary School (Courtesy of school website)