After more than 3.5 hours of often highly-passionate testimony opposing the elimination of Redskins as the Teton High School mascot, Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme recommended the school district take more time to listen to all points of view.
"I have to listen," said Woolstenhulme, at the conclusion of the testimony. "I would be an idiot not to listen. I'm not better than anybody else. Nothing is saying we have to do this now."
"I appreciate those that attended the school board meeting and shared their opinion about the high school mascot issue," said Woolstenhulme, in a statement issued after the July 8 meeting. "While it is an emotional and passionate one, I've received feedback from many on both sides of the issue, those in favor and those opposed to the change.
"After listening to comments shared tonight, and taking lots of direct feedback since June 10, I agree that how the decision was made could have been handled better."
Woolstenhulme recommended taking more time to review the issue, "making sure we gather community involvement and outreach to those closely tied to Teton High School and the Redskins mascot, and those that it represents: Native Americans and especially the Tribal leadership in Idaho."
Only three of the 67 who testified spoke in favor of eliminating the moniker, with two neutral. The remaining 62 spoke in defense of the name Redskins. Most cited heartfelt honor, pride, respect, dignity, tradition and heritage behind the use of the name.
Read the complete story in the July 11 edition of the Teton Valley News, including detailed testimony and video excerpts from the meeting.