Marquette Area Public Schools to possibly change mascots

MARQUETTE — “It’s the consensus of the Marquette Senior High School research committee that the Marquette Area Public Schools discontinue the use of the nickname Redman and Redettes,” said Joe Nubic, Member of the Marquette Board of Education. 

The Marquette Area Public Schools have had the “Redmen” and “Redettes” mascot since the early 1900’s, but in 2019, many people believe it is time for a change.

“We’ve had a number of issues,” said Bill Saunders, Superintendent of the Marquette Area Public Schools. “Regardless of what side of that issue you’re on, as educators, we see within the school was is a certain amount of bullying and harassment that’s taking place. A lot of it is online bullying and harassment but bullying and harassment nonetheless. Our big issue is that we want to protect our students from any bullying and harassment. That’s why it’s such an important issue for us to delve into and take a look at.” 

Students, faculty, and community members all spoke at the Marquette Board of Education meeting to discuss their feelings toward the current mascot, and what racial implications come from it.

“When I post stuff on social media, like activism on Native American issues, people would reply and tell me that I don’t deserve anything and stuff of that nature,” said Roxy Sprowl, a senior at Marquette Senior High School. “My voice is shut out a lot of the time so that’s how it effects me. It effects me as I walk through the hall and hear people saying stuff. It effects me when I see people wearing offensive, derogatory symbols.”

A decision about the mascot change is expected to be made soon, and if it is changed, this has potential to impact a lot of people.

“We won’t be a singled out population within this community,” Sprowl said. “It’ll be more inclusive hopefully. It’ll allow Native students to actually participate in things like homecoming, and be able to participate in school spirit because right now, it’s not necessarily that way. It’s really divisive.” 

Although the Marquette Board of Education hasn’t officially decided on whether they’ll change the mascot or not, tonight was a real eye opener for the people who make that decision. With statements from students and community members who are personally effected, and how it impacts them if the mascot is changed in the future.

Updates on this matter are expected in January at the next board meeting.