The Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint Unified School District governing board is supporting its neighbor, Chowchilla High School, in the fight to keep its decades-old Redskin mascot.
The Dos Palos governing board recently passed a resolution opposing the California Racial Mascots Act, Assembly Bill 30.
The board, in a statement, said it “feels strongly that the local community and school leaders, who are elected to represent the community of Chowchilla, are more than capable of considering the issue and making decisions that are in the best interest of the community.”
The statement says the bill would impose upon the school’s right to expression, violating its freedom of speech.
Assembly Bill 30 was introduced in December by Assembly Member Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, and aims to prohibit schools from using “Redskins” as a school, team or athletic name, mascot or nickname.
Four schools in the state use the mascot: Chowchilla High in Madera County, Calaveras High in Calaveras County, Gustine High in Merced County and Tulare Western in Tulare County.
The legislature is expected to take up the bill again some time in August, Alejo’s office said.
IT’S TIME WE AS A STATE TAKE A STAND AGAINST RACIAL SLURS USED BY OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
Assembly Member Luis Alejo
“California has the largest number of Native Americans in the country,” Alejo said in a statement. “It’s time we as a state take a stand against racial slurs used by our public schools.”
If adopted, California would be the first state in the country to pass a law phasing out the use of the term “Redskins.”
Ron Seals, Chowchilla’s superintendent, said he is grateful for the support from neighboring Dos Palos. “That was a tremendous feeling of being a good neighbor and knowing that, as surrounding districts, you have each other’s backs,” he said.
Joe Castillo, the Dos Palos board president, said if the board considered the Redskin mascot disrespectful, it wouldn’t have supported the resolution.
I DON’T THINK CHOWCHILLA REPRESENTS ANYTHING NEGATIVE. THEY REPRESENT THE REDSKINS IN A POSITIVE WAY.
Joe Castillo, Dos Palos school board president
“I don’t think Chowchilla represents anything negative,” he said. “They represent the Redskins in a positive way. I support that because they have strong educational programs and strong athletic teams. They have a lot of integrity and character.”
The Chowchilla City Council also is supporting the town’s high school. The mayor, John Chavez, sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown last month.
“Leave this matter of the Redskin mascot in the hands of the local community,” the letter reads. “This is about the Chowchilla Indians, not the Native Americans from other locations in and out of the state of California.”
Gustine Unified has received support similar to Chowchilla. The Gustine City Council signed a letter similar to Chowchilla’s in March, voicing support for the school and mascot.
The Gustine Unified School Board also passed a resolution, which said “the Redskin mascot in its most genuine form is a teacher within itself by providing lessons of courage, community, pride, honor, respect for self and others.”
Gustine’s resolution also contends the mascot is an issue to be determined at the local level – not the state level.
Seals estimates the Chowchilla district will spend close to $1 million if it has to change its mascot. The school not only will have to buy new uniforms, it will have to change the mascot on the wood gym floor, in the stadium concrete and murals on campus.
Loretta Rose, a board member for Gustine Unified, said that district will spend close to $500,000. Rose went to Sacramento in June when the bill was before the senate appropriations committee.
“If it ever goes on the floor again, we will be back,” she said.
|Chowchilla News Day
Please follow us.