San Andreas, CA — As public schools’ use of “Redskins” as a team or mascot name will soon be banned, all ideas for a new Calaveras High team moniker are welcome.
So says Calaveras Unified School District Superintendent Mark Campbell. As previously reported, last December, when the California Racial Mascots Act was introduced by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), Campbell indicated the district was taking a “wait and see” stance, in light of continued Native American community support of the name, despite growing national oppositional pressure to the NFL Redskins team’s use of it.
Monday morning, Governor Jerry Brown penned his supportive signature on the legislation, which requires that all public schools currently using the Redskins name to cease and desist from doing so by January 1, 2017. As reported here, two Mother Lode lawmakers refrained from voting on the ban while a former representative came out against it.
Half-laughing and suppressing a sigh, Campbell comments he has been dealing with the spectre of such a ban since 1997. ““We fully expected this to happen, and I’m past the point of saying anything cynical or jaded about legislative process,” he says wryly. Moving forward, he states, “We’re going to use this as an educational tool…to make this very positive in terms of how we go about transitioning – we will involve students and the whole community honestly, in terms of soliciting ideas and options — but we’re going to rely on our high school administration and our student body to drive the process for change.”
Whether the school will be ready to make the leap to a new moniker by the start of the 2016-17 school year remains to be seen, Campbell shares, even though it would seem to be the best way of making a clean transition. Certainly, he affirms, “We’re not going to wait to get this process moving, we’re going to start immediately.” As part of the move-forward plan he indicates that a formal letter will be going out to the school community in the coming weeks; administrators will put out feelers for those who want to be involved while also working to assemble a committee.
While Campbell confides, “Some people would like us to keep the logo…keep it, and then become the Chiefs, Reds, Warriors, or something like that,” he also acknowledges there has been “a lot of informal input…spanning the spectrum.” While a change of school colors is not out of the question, he points out that the school, mindful of the possible ban on the Redskins name, has been gradually phasing out the use of it on uniforms and has since generated quite a supply of perfectly usable red and gold uniforms labeled only with the Calaveras name.
With many months ahead of a necessary decision and no clear frontrunner favorites, Campbell encourages input from all fronts, promising, “There won’t any idea that we won’t entertain — at least initially — we’re open to any and all ideas.”