Lamar School Board Reviews Last Minute Mascot Details


Representatives from the Lamar Re-2 School Board will be given a five-minute opportunity on April 15th to present the mascot and logo alternatives to the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs.  Board members and the mascot committee, tasked with finding an acceptable mascot and logo to replace the Lamar Savages themes, have approved two suggestions, one of which they hope will remove the Lamar School District from a list of schools using inappropriate mascots/logos as determined by the CCIA.  The accompanying law, SB21-116 which was passed by the Colorado Legislature last year, mandates the changes take place by June 1st or the district will be subject to a $25,000 monthly fine until a suggestion is found acceptable.  A vote on the suggestions is expected by the Affairs Commission during their quarterly meeting on May 19th.

The school board met in special session on Monday, March 28th to discuss a plan of action on how to present the suggestions, either individually with alternative A first, or both, with the second as a back-up, either at that meeting or a subsequent one.  The first keeps the name, Lamar Savages, but substitutes an emblem of a bison in place of the Indian in decorative headdress.  Should that not work, the mascot committee suggested using Savage Thunder as the name, while still incorporating the bison emblem.  The emphasis is to offer the term savage not as a verb, but as a descriptive adjective as members of the board stated that the word savage, as itself, does not specify any particular Native American tribe.  An earlier zoom meeting with CCIA members indicated that group will have a problem accepting the term savage in almost any form.

Board members held a lengthy discussion on the options for their presentation to the CCIA and their ruling.  There will actually be three interactions.  The first will be on April 15th for a presentation of either one or two mascot alternatives.  Another session is set for April 29th which allows the district to offer data and literature on the steps employed to arrive at their suggestions.  As outlined by board president, Lanie Meyers-Mireles, “We should be prepared for questions from the Committee on the 15th. We can reply with how we comprised the logo committee from our community and how it represents us as a group of people, the geography of our region, our belief that our choices are respectful to the CCIA’s wishes and our suggestions remove all Native American imagery or any proponent of that.”  One board member suggested using prepared decals or stickers with the new logo to cover some images, such as the spear on the LHS gymnasium scoreboard the CCIA has deemed offensive, to show that the district is starting to take steps for compliance.

The CCIA’s quarterly meeting on May 19th will conduct the vote on the school board’s recommendations and if both A and B are denied, the board said they will consider litigation to enact an injunction on the district’s behalf.  Superintendent Dr. Chad Krug said he has been in contact with the board’s attorney, Alex Halpern, to see if he would represent them in legal matters.  But that May 19th ruling will offer only two weeks before the fine may be levied.

Board members were adamant and unified in its decision to keep student artwork on display at the high school.  Mireles stated, “The student’s artwork will remain as long as it does not depict the artwork of the Native American Indian used as the mascot.”  Other board members agreed with the general comment of, “that’s a line in the sand we will not cross.”  The next regular school board meeting is set for Monday, April 11th.
By Russ Baldwin

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