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High school community fights to keep Redskin mascot

High school community fights to keep Redskin mascot

DRIGGS, Idaho - A community is sounding off, one month since the Teton County Schools superintendent announced he would be doing away with the high school's Redskin mascot.

Monday night, superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme opened the school board meeting for public comment.

People were given an hour and 20 minutes to make their remarks. They went on for three hours.

"I don't want to lose the Redskin name. I hope it stays around, and I love to see people wearing it," said Keni Jeppson, who runs the booster club for Teton High and was selling Redskins merchandise outside the meeting.

"I recognize the importance of heritage in our community, but I also think there are things that need serious evaluation," Woolstenhulme said to the crowd.

Students, teachers, parents and alumni came to address Woolstenhulme, who last month, decided on his own to do away with the mascot.

"I think he needs a damn good spankin'," said Connie Letham of the superintendent's decision.

An overwhelming majority opposed the mascot change.

"We do away with Teton Redskins, what else is there?" asked one man.

"You are implying that we are racists because we're honoring a tribe of Indians," said another man.

Several Native Amercians spoke in favor of keeping the Redskin mascot.

"There's a lot of Norweigans (and) Scandanavians in here. They don't blush if somebody calls them Vikings, do they?" on Native American asked.

People were also concerned about the cost of re-branding the school, months after voters approved a $3.1 million supplemental levy for the district.

Only a few people were fine with ditching the Redskin.

"How would we feel if it were our ancestors who had been skinned like wild animals?" asked one woman in favor of the change.

Woolstenhulme remained quiet throughout.

"I felt like (changing the mascot) was my decision to make," he told our news crew.

Woolstenhulme said he and the school board will take more time to consider the next course of action.

Earlier this month, the Shoshone-Bannock tribes told the Teton School District that they support getting rid of the Redskin mascot. 

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