Teton High’s ‘Redskins’ mascot prompts student walkout

DRIGGS — An ongoing clash over Teton High School’s mascot sparked a student walkout Monday.

Ten Teton freshmen left class at around 1:30 p.m. They went to the school’s front doors to hoist signs displaying support for the school’s “Redskins” mascot, Teton Valley News’ Jeannette Boner reports.

“Since 1920, we have been the Redskins,” one sign read. “Let’s keep it that way.”

Growing public discussion has swirled around the mascot in recent months, with some locals calling it a racist reference to American Indians.

“Of course the white kids would protest,” Facebook user Tina Pongyan wrote on Teton Valley News’ Facebook page. “They aren’t the ones being offended.”

Others say the mascot is an important part of the community and that calls to change it stem from a broader overemphasis on political correctness.

“Nice to see that there are still young folks whose minds haven’t been corrupted with the current stream of PC nonsense,” Kate Tater also wrote on the newspaper’s Facebook page.

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Teton High students are also torn. A recent student council poll showed that 67 percent of the school’s students support keeping the mascot. Meanwhile, Boner reported that the school’s student newspaper recently changed its publication name in order to move away from the controversial mascot.

It’s not the first time the name has fueled debate. In 2013, Teton Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme moved to change the mascot’s name, but backed off after a public hearing resulted in overwhelming support for keeping it.

Monday’s walkout lasted around seven minutes, Boner reported.

On July 8, the Teton School Board will take more public input on whether to change the mascot.

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