JPS BOE Passes Resolution Regarding JHS Logo & Mascot

JPS BOE Passes Resolution Regarding JHS Logo & Mascot

The Jamestown Board of Education, based on the recommendations of the JPS Mascot Committee and after careful and lengthy consideration, directed that a new mascot and logo be adopted for Jamestown High School at their July 1st meeting. The resolution also stated that any use of Native American imagery, including any “J” with feathers is to be discontinued, and that as soon as is practical, all feathers be removed from buildings and playing fields and that any and all uniforms or attire with said imagery, and provided by the district, be replaced.

The Board also gave Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker the authorization to hire the services of a graphic designer and trademark attorney for the purpose of designing a new logo and mascot. Board of Education member, Joe Pawelski, who also sits on the JPS Mascot Committee, said that they would be seeking student, staff and community input on what the new logo and mascot should be going forward.

“Our district, and the Board of Education, is one that values our diversity and the inclusivity of all students. I am very happy with the Board’s resolution tonight to eliminate any reference to Native American imagery in the JHS logo or mascot,” said Board President Paul Abbott. “This has been an on-going process since 2014. We appreciate the hours of volunteer time the committee has put into researching the history, delving into the community’s feelings about the logo and mascot, and giving us the recommendations to make this valuable decision for our district.”

Board member Nina Karbacka made a motion to amend the resolution to include changing the name “Red Raider.”

“I am very in favor of eliminating any Native American imagery but I don’t approve of Red Raiders. I feel that though that name has historically not represented Native Americans, it has represented Native Americans for 50 years and is very closely associated with that. And I feel that our board and school system has a strong feeling of inclusivity and respect for our students and that name does not reflect that.”

The Board of Education defeated the amendment 5-1 to keep the “Red Raider” name.

“When changing the mascot was being discussed in 2014, we didn’t have the research or history of the committee, so I was torn with the same idea. Red Raiders – Do we keep that name? Is it based on Native American imagery or connotations? And I think Committee Chair, Ben Drake, came forward with some evidence dating back to the ’40s and that helped convince me that the name is not tied to Native American imagery,” said Board of Education Vice President Patrick Slagle.

The JPS Mascot Committee will continue to meet and will keep the Board of Education and community updated on the progress of the new JHS logo and mascot. 

“I want to thank the members of the committee for their past and continuing efforts on this issue,” said JPS Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker. “It has been challenging work. This is an important issue of respect, and we will continue to work toward a fully inclusive and respectful environment in our schools. I look forward to engaging our stakeholders in the search for new imagery for our district.”