Bethel High School’s mascot is the Braves – one of the nicknames with Native American origins that the state Board of Education wants public schools in Washington to stop using.
For the second time in the past 19 years, the board recently approved a formal resolution urging districts to discontinue the use of Native American mascots.
The request is only a recommendation, however. The board is leaving the decision on whether to keep the nicknames up to schools and their district leaders, and so far there is no movement to make a change at Bethel High.
“At this point, there is no plan to do away with Braves,” said Krista Carlson, a spokeswoman for Bethel School District.
The resolution issued by the state board Sept. 26 echoes the findings of the 2005 American Psychological Association report citing an adverse effect of Native American mascots on students, board official said. Several states, including Oregon this year, have taken similar actions to Washington’s.
“We are in the business of educating students,” said Washington board member Bernal Baca. “We need to remove any barrier that will impede student success.”
Board members said they hope their concerns will prompt school districts in Washington to reevaluate their policies regarding the use of mascots that the board believes are potentially derogatory or damaging to the districts’ students.
The board approved a similar resolution in 1993.
Other schools with Native American-related mascots include Port Townsend, known as the Redskins. Port Townsend is an athletics member of the Nisqually League, which includes Eatonville High.