The Redskins mascot will be dropped from Wichita North High School


Skye Todd, Reporter

Last week on Monday night, the Wichita Board of Education voted unanimously 6 to 0 to drop the Wichita North High Redskins mascot name. North will no longer have Redskins in our name and will be referred to as Wichita North School, but our logo with the feather and drum will remain the same.

At the meeting, there were no talks of creating a new mascot any time soon. The removal of the mascot name on athletic and fine arts uniforms, school apparel, and signs will be in a 2-year phase-in plan starting in the 21-22 school year.

The Wichita Public Schools committee created to analyze the mascot determined: “the term is offensive to Native Americans and the Native American Culture. The term is racially and culturally insensitive.”

Athletic Director of North High, Mr. Douglas, was part of the committee who recommended the change.

“For me it was about doing what the district directed us to do as a committee. We listened, learned and tried to understand different perspectives of the word. It was about listening and respecting people,” he said. “The committee felt it was the right decision to recommend the dropping of the name, implementing the use of the drum and feather, creating a curriculum about the history of North and the connection to the Native American community.”

Head principal, Mrs. Wasko, who is in her first year as the head principal, but not new to North as she is a former teacher at North, knew the magnitude of the decision.

“I felt like it was a lot to take on, but the good news is this is my second go round at North. I’ve actually taught here from 1992 until 2003, so I definitely have an understanding of the pride of the school and the history. I’m thankful having to take on this issue at least I understood how students, staff, and really how alumni felt, but it has been a difficult issue to address.”

Wasko understands that many people were going to have strong opinions on the issue, one way or another.

“I think it depends on everyone’s perspective because a lot of people said we didn’t mean it to be offensive, that was never the intention. I 100% believe that was never the intention, I think what we have to open our minds to is could it hurt someone and if it does should that be enough. I felt like it just needed to happen, rather its the time, I just think when people came to us and said it hurt them or people they care about and I knew we had to do something.”

For those wondering if there is going to be a new mascot, the answer is no for now.

“I think this is a good way for the people who are mourning the loss of the name so they have time to get over the loss. I believe we will have conversations around a new mascot but I don’t know what that timeline looks like,” Mrs. Wasko said.

Lastly, the idea development of a freshman curriculum at North High that highlights the school’s history and its Native American influence came up.  Wasko is supportive of the idea.

“I think it really is. When I first started working here I was excited to hear about the history of North and why it is stands where it stands and the significance of it being just a stone throw away from the first Native American school.” She continued, “I think in general in Wichita and maybe even in Kansas we do not teach enough of history for Native Americans, in Oklahoma its required curriculum which was mentioned by some of the members of the committee who talked at length about the required curriculum all students in Oklahoma learn about their heritage.”

Mrs. Wasko also expressed this, “I’m excited about it I think it will be a good addition and I think it will help students understand why the building looks the way it does. I mean it’s not just because of the mascot that this building has this beautiful artwork outside and has these beautiful themes.”