Brevard school board to debate creating ‘mascot policy’

Edgewood Jr./Sr. High is district’s first school retiring a mascot

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Brevard County school board will discuss a proposal to create a policy on how district schools can change the name of mascots.

Board Vice-Chairman Matt Susin raised his concerns after Edgewood Jr./Sr. High School announced it would be retiring its Indian mascot without giving a reason.

An August Facebook post to the school’s page read in part, “Since our founding, Edgewood has honored the indigenous peoples of Florida. In that great tradition of reverence, a decision has been reached to retire the Indian mascot.”

The school continues listening to feedback in a series of meetings.

The next meeting discussing the mascot change is Thursday night.

The school board reported that a new survey of students suggests most of them don’t want to change the mascot.

Susin said almost two out of three students wanted to keep the Indians.

The district already has a policy about naming schools.

Susin said a mascot policy could be similar.

“With a formal process that’s been vetted in-place, we can have the arguments, the passion, the votes, and everything else that’s needed out there,” he said.

At a school board meeting Tuesday night, Susin addressed board members.

“There needs to be a threshold as to ‘why’. Somebody can’t just say, ‘I want to change a mascot,’” Susin said.

School board Chair Misty Belford and school board member Jennifer Jenkins raised their concerns about making a mascot policy.

“I’m not interested in making it a board decision,” Belford said.

“What gives us the authority to decide whether or not that ‘why’ is OK? If it’s offensive or inappropriate,” Jenkins asked.

The board agreed to continue its discussion at an upcoming workshop.

Susin said that could be in January.

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