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Redskins mascot to be obliterated from Teton School District

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Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 7:50 am | Updated: 9:18 am, Tue Jun 11, 2013.

“Redskins” is no longer the mascot for Teton High School.

Citing respect and honor for Native Americans, Teton School District Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme has ordered high school administration to come up with a new mascot and to remove all references to “Redskins” immediately.

Woolstenhulme said he is directing maintenance and will start “as soon as I can get my tie off and get in the forklift” to remove references to Redskins.

“We’re going to take down the signs and the logos. Anything associated with Native Americans will be gone. So that means the high school will need to work through changing the name of the newspaper. “

He said he will not make the decision on what the new mascot will be.

“I’m not asking for board approval, it’s a decision I’m making,” Woolstenhulme said. “I recognize it’s going to bring a lot of emotion, debate and discussion. I respect that, but we’re moving forward with this change.”

Woolstenhulme said he’s been thinking about this since he started at the district four years ago.

“I’m an alumni of the high school, my family is five or six generations to this valley. Even though I appreciate the heritage and tradition of Teton High School and our school district, it has bothered me for some time that the mascot for the high school isn’t in [alignment] with a lot of the programs and initiatives that we’re working to teach, first, our students, and secondly reinforce with our staff.”

Woolstenhulme told the school board of his decision June 10. He shared his reasons with a prepared report and added comments during the meeting:

• Reinforcing the importance of respect for others, where the 3-R’s of Respect, Responsible and Ready are a focus on teaching positive social behaviors in all schools in the district.

• Honoring the Native American community in our state and nation, where acceptance of others is essential to students being successful in a diverse career and college work force.

• Empowering students to recognize others for their character, not the color of their skin, where there are no similar high school mascots designated for other demographic groups, for example “Whiteskins.”

“Or pick whatever group you want to and think about how offensive that would be if it applied to anybody else,” Woolstenhulme said.

• Selecting a mascot that can be displayed with pride throughout our high school and at other schools in our conference, without creating controversy for its potential offensiveness or appropriateness.

• Recognizing that as the flagship school of the district, Teton High School represents not only our schools, but also our community; our student athletes, teams and mascot should represent Teton in a positive and respectful manner.

“We recognize a national conversation is occurring regarding mascots with professional sports, collegiate teams and other high schools,” he said.

“Teton High School was referenced in a nationwide article about schools with the Redskins mascot. While that information surrounds the issue, this decision was made with recognition of many years of history and tradition of athletic success at Teton High School. In light of our tradition of not only athletic excellence, but also our respect for others, the decision was made to change the school mascot."

Woolstenhulme said THS’ mascot was not widely displayed and hopes the new choice will become more prominent.

“Over time, I think because of sensitivity to this issue, slowly and slowly we have been respectful of this and pushed our mascot further and further quietly behind,” he said. “It’s not something we plaster on our website. I believe that sensitivity has been under the current, but it’s my responsibility to do something about it.”

The board commended Woolstenhulme for his decision.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Doug Petersen, board chair.

Woolstenhulme said high school administration will work with students, staff, parents, alumni and the community in the fall to bring a recommendation of a new mascot for Teton High School.

© 2015 Teton Valley News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • ProNative posted at 3:42 pm on Fri, Jul 12, 2013.

    ProNative Posts: 15

    Rebel60, can't cash what YOUR PEOPLE stole from the Real Americans. You whites are a joke, you stole our land, now you want to steal our identity, now you whites cry like children, when we say you can't have what we are, lol!

  • Rebel60 posted at 1:24 pm on Tue, Jul 9, 2013.

    Rebel60 Posts: 7

    So you will still cash it.

  • ProNative posted at 11:57 am on Tue, Jul 9, 2013.

    ProNative Posts: 15

    Rebel60, your kind would steal it before I got to the bank, lol! Like you did our country. Get rid of racist mascot and go steal someone else's culture, white boy.

  • Rebel60 posted at 1:35 pm on Mon, Jul 8, 2013.

    Rebel60 Posts: 7

    If you feel that strongly, don't cash your next welfare check.

  • ProNative posted at 6:38 pm on Sun, Jul 7, 2013.

    ProNative Posts: 15

    It's time to educate all you CRACKERS or racists on this issue. NO TRUE NATIVE sees the racist word REDSKIN as an honor. You will never see a tribal government honor anything WHITE. If this is an honor, it must be for the true Native Warriors, that defended our tribal lands against the WHITE INVADERS and your U.S. Government during the Indian Wars. Natives celebrate OUR VICTORY and YOUR DEFEAT at Little Bighorn. We spit on your General Custard and your CRACKER RACE! We will never forget what your race tried to do, which is to exterminate our race. You whites are so stupid for honoring your enemy. We as REAL AMERICANS will never honor you for anything!

  • CJW posted at 7:09 pm on Sun, Jun 23, 2013.

    CJW Posts: 1

    So disappointed in my hometown right now.

  • valleygirl posted at 9:04 am on Sat, Jun 15, 2013.

    valleygirl Posts: 7

    Once a REDSKIN always a REDSKIN. I have many family members who are redskins and have been redskins. I can think of other things to spend the money on. The major thing I don't agree on is the way Mr. Woolstenhulme did it without asking the public, alumni, or student body.

  • Katie_ID posted at 12:25 pm on Thu, Jun 13, 2013.

    Katie_ID Posts: 5

    I am not a fan of "political correctness". However, those of you who are opposed to this change might feel differently if you had had to watch your non-Caucasian child struggle with various verbal offenses over the years.

    This is not about political correctness--it is about being courteous and considerate of other people. It is about trying not to be offensive. True, we all have to learn to overlook the myriad slights we are subjected to in our lives--most of which are unintentional, committed by those who are ignorant of some particular issue. But those slights should serve to make us each more conscious of how we treat others, more conscious of the need to look at things from another's perspective.

    Furthermore, if we are really that concerned about the cost, why not make all sports clubs--part of the school but not supported financially by the school. As best I can determine from looking at the budgets, that would save well over $100,000 per year--considerably more than the budgetted cost of new uniforms over a 6-8 year period.

    Kathleen Haar

  • Norman posted at 9:16 pm on Wed, Jun 12, 2013.

    Norman Posts: 2

    Redskin is a racist word that cuts both ways, to a native american, it means some one of mixed blood ( a half-breed ) and to call a native american by that word it is a major insult. Most people don't know that a teacher at Teton High School, Prof Murdock, champion this name, because of his grandmother, Kit Carson's half-breed daughter. It is too bad when a school bows to 'political correctness' instead of upholding it's hereditary. If a name change must be, then go with the name 'trappers', as it would honor ol' Sammy Kunz. For he has quit a history within the valley, among the early settlers of Cedron and it keeps the hereditary of valley strong.

  • novote4u posted at 5:53 pm on Wed, Jun 12, 2013.

    novote4u Posts: 1

    Sounds like we should be the Dictators. [beam]

  • Rebel60 posted at 8:32 am on Wed, Jun 12, 2013.

    Rebel60 Posts: 7

    I don't believe in mythological creatures, so Malad has to change its mascot. I'm African American so Idaho falls and Aberdeen has to change its mascot. I'm a middle aged woman who likes younger men, so South Freemont and Firth has to change its mascot. I'm Native American, so Preston, Poky, Salmon, Teton, North Gem, New Plymouth and Sho-Ban has to change its mascot. I'm Catholic, so Rigby has to change its mascot. I'm overweight, so North Freemont has to change its mascot. I'm retarded, so Shelley has to change its mascot. You can't go through life without being offended by something. PC makes no sense. 103 years of tradition wiped away because someone thinks someone might have their feelings hurt. If they do change it, change it to something that really is a reflection of the town. Teton Treehuggers.

  • Redskin posted at 12:26 am on Wed, Jun 12, 2013.

    Redskin Posts: 1

    I can not believe this. This decision was made without the student body! Selfish, you claim to be in support of what the community wants but it obviously shows that your the belligerent person that makes our decisions for us. Im unhappy with this, and so is the community, I hope you have fun fighting back. Im a redskin along with the rest of the town and you wont take that from us.

  • J posted at 12:12 am on Wed, Jun 12, 2013.

    J Posts: 1

    "Trappers". Honor the men who shared the STDs w the Natives and moved in and out just like what some want to do here!!! Come take and leave!! Oh that's Honor

  • teton_view posted at 10:32 pm on Tue, Jun 11, 2013.

    teton_view Posts: 40

    And y'all want to know where that $80,000 will come from to make this change?

    Levy!!! Wooohooo!!!

    Nice how Monte polled "other communities" about this change... but didn't poll this community. And then just made the change on his own. No vote, no discussion, nothing.

    And y'all will vote him right back in. Gotta make sure your "family" stays in power, right?

  • Nic posted at 11:28 am on Tue, Jun 11, 2013.

    Nic Posts: 1

    I am in full support of this. Tradition is no reason to continue to be disrespectful. Besides, maybe we can actually have a mascot now.

  • jbcooke posted at 11:23 am on Tue, Jun 11, 2013.

    jbcooke Posts: 1

    A bunch of people are going to get REALLY peeved about this decision but where was all that community pride for the school when our school sports have absolutely no community support? You go to other schools and the whole freaking town is out supporting the team and our home games we only have a handful of parents at any given sporting event.

  • James Johnson posted at 10:39 am on Tue, Jun 11, 2013.

    James Johnson Posts: 1

    While we're at it, they should change the name of the school, the district, and the mountain range, because I am offended by the use of the word "Teton.". It always makes me think of a woman's large breasts. And that's just not fair. Half of the population has the same reaction. That's so offensive! And it supports sexist stereotypes in our culture of land grabbing murderers of indigenous peoples. Stop the madness!!

    May I suggest, Marshmallow Valley, the Marshmallow Mountains, and the Marshmallow Valley Creampuffs, as a mascot. Go Puffers! Go!

  • hariet_hatch posted at 10:33 am on Tue, Jun 11, 2013.

    hariet_hatch Posts: 30

    I think this is a good decision. Why not host a competition to decide what the new mascot will be?

    I suggest becoming the Teton "Trappers" in honor of the Mountain Men who used to pass through the valley.