Assemblyman seeks ban on offensive mascots in California public schools

Assemblyman seeks ban on offensive mascots in California public schools

By Jason Hoppin, Monterey County Herald

POSTED: 12/04/2014 05:18:14 AM PST2 COMMENTS| UPDATED: 4 DAYS AGO

SACRAMENTO - Assemblyman Luis Alejo wants to end the use of "Redskins" as a mascot in California public schools, once and for all.

The Watsonville Democrat introduced a bill Monday to ban the name, which is still used by a handful of high schools around the state. It was among several bills introduced by Central Coast legislators on the first day of the 2015-16 state legislative session.

"There's no reason why we can't get that accomplished and phase out that particular derogatory term from our public high schools," Alejo said, noting the decades-long debate over such names. "Here we are so many years later, and still fighting the same fight to have respect for our Native American communities in California."

The number of California high schools using Redskins as a mascot is four: Calaveras, Chowchilla, Gustine and Tulare high schools all use it. Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley and Colusa High School recently changed their names to Red Hawks.

Last year, the state Assembly waded into the controversy over the Washington Redskins NFL mascot debate by passing a resolution, led by Alejo, urging the team to change its name. While Native American groups have objected to a number of mascot names, AB 30 addressed only "Redskins."

For years, with Native American groups, churches, politicians and many more have argued that such mascots are insensitive. The Legislature passed a bill in 2004 to ban the use of Native American nicknames at the state's public schools, but it was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1972, Stanford University changed its name from Indians to Cardinal.

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