Plans to remove the Teton High School Redskins mascot and logo are on hold, and Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme, who crafted the idea, will now seek public and Native American input before moving forward.
Woolstenhulme said he met with Teton School District board chairman Doug Petersen and devised a new plan for changing the mascot.
The public can comment on the mascot issue during the district board meeting July 8 at the THS auditorium at 7 p.m. The superintendent said he’s willing to listen to others, including members of the community, alumni, people affiliated with the district and others.
Woolstenhulme said the district is reaching out to the Shoshone-Bannock tribes at the Fort Hall Reservation “to gather their feedback on the issue.”
“I had contacted the Sho-Ban High School previously to discuss this issue, but had not communicated directly with the Tribal leadership,” he said.
He is reaching out to that leadership prior to the public meeting.
Woolstenhulme said no funds will be spent at this time to change the mascot, and no signs or logos with the mascot will be removed.
Rough estimates of $100,000 to replace athletic uniforms and to replace signs would come out of existing budgets, “not funds that could go towards staff salaries or positions,” he said.
Woolstenhulme, in a followup interview, said he’s reflected on how this could have been handled better.
“I knew there would be passionate response to this, but not this large, this much or this fast,” he said.
Although he stands by his decision, Woolstenhulme said he may not have presented it in the best way.
“Hindsight is a beautiful thing,” he said. Like everyone else, “I make mistakes and learn from my mistakes.”