‘Indians’ mascot being replaced at Merritt Island school

Edgewood Jr./Sr. High hosts discussion with community

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – A month after Edgewood Jr./Sr. High announced it was retiring its Indian mascot, the school opened the first of two virtual discussions with the community.

If all goes according to the school’s plan, it would have a new mascot selected in time for the start of next year.

In August, Principal Jackie Ingratta and the school told families through Facebook, “a decision has been reached to retire the Indian mascot.”

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The school said a new nickname would be thought over for the next several months.

Senior Shaun Comino said the Indian mascot creates a lot of school spirit at Edgewood.

“I personally don’t believe it’s racist whatsoever,” Comino said. “It’s not an appropriation of our culture. It’s more of a celebration, in my opinion."

A father of a seventh-grader, Yves Lamothe, said he supported changing the nickname.

“Out of respect and honor and just, basic humankind, let’s just do what everyone can be happy with and then leave it at that,” Lamothe said.

At a Brevard Public Schools board meeting on Sept. 10, school board member Matt Susin was without support when he asked the board to pause the school’s plans until the district can create a policy about mascots.

“The school board has the final say in anything that happens inside the school district,” Susin said.

Board chair Misty Belford said it’s not a board decision to make a determination on a mascot.

If the school selects a new mascot, Comino said he would be disappointed.

“I do enjoy all the traditional Indian-type things around the school. For example, in the gym we have a large Indian headdress,” he said.

Lamothe suggested the new name reflect the students.

“I would just pick something that was more to the academics because that’s what this school is really about. There’s some really smart kids,” the father said.

The second school “listening session” about the mascot is scheduled for Oct. 15.

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