Four Shawnee Mission schools will need to find new mascots after district adopts new policy

People are not mascots sign in front of Center for Academic Achievement

Indian or Braves mascots, currently used by Shawnee Mission North, Belinder Elementary, Shawanoe Elementary and Rushton Elementary, will be retired under the district's new policy. Above, a sign stands outside of the district's Center for Academic Achievement that says "people are not mascots."

The Shawnee Mission School District has determined that Indians and Braves mascots are non-compliant with the district’s newly adopted mascot policy.

Shawnee Mission North, Belinder Elementary, Shawanoe Elementary and Rushton Elementary are among the schools that will need to determine a new mascot following Monday evening’s decisions.

The decisions come after six months of discussions sparked by a group of SM North alumni who started a petition — with more than 4,500 signatures, now — for the Indian mascot to be changed by the school’s 100th anniversary.

SM North and three elementary schools will have to undergo a process to identify a new mascot, one that is neither an Indian or a Brave. File photo.

Although many from the SM North community were in favor of changing the mascot, nearly 3,000 have signed a counter petition to keep the Indian name. Still, Laura Guy, Shawnee Mission West area board member, said it was a “historic decision” to unanimously adopt the new policy and identify the mascots not in compliance.

“It feels like a positive decision that I think is going to be reflected in the future of this district,” Guy said.

Process for selecting a new mascot

Superintendent Mike Fulton said he will work with principals at the identified schools to set up a process to identify a new mascot. The timeline for a decision and implementation of a new mascot could vary by school, depending “on the nature of how big that change is,” he said.

“This year, what that would look like is we would, by the end of the school year, have the impacted schools identify their new mascot,” Fulton said. “The implementation of the new mascot may vary by school.”

A reasonable timeline for the actual implementation of a new mascot will be laid out for each of the schools, at the same time that a process is identified, Fulton said.

The policy implements the following requirements for all of the mascots within the district:

  • Mascots will not be derogatory or offensive to a person or class of persons as defined in policy AC.
  • Mascots will not make reference toward a person or class of persons as defined in policy AC.
  • Mascots will be culturally and racially sensitive and appropriate.
  • Mascots will not run counter to the district’s mission of creating a fully unified, equitable and inclusive culture.
  • Mascots that do not comply with the policy — as identified by the board — will be retired. A new mascot for the school will be selected through a process approved by the superintendent.