Belmont student activists to discuss 'Red Raiders' issue with school board Tuesday
BELMONT – Students at Belmont High School who want changes in the school's mascot and team logo will be presenting their final report on the feelings of the community, the school's staff and the students to the school board Tuesday night.
The students will be asking to change the image on the Red Raiders logo, said Superintendent Maria Dreyer, but not the “Red Raider” name itself.
“Their goal is to change the image to something other than anything or any facial image related to a native American,” Dreyer said.
The school board may decide the matter after hearing from the students Tuesday night, Dreyer said.
“The students are coming before the board to give the results of the forum, the community votes, staff votes and finally student votes. The board may take action on Tuesday or may defer it depending on the results,” Dreyer said.
The issue was brought up at a student council meeting on April 14. Council members said the school's students wanted a change in the mascot, as many do not like the image of a stereotypical American Indian warriors as the school mascot.
Some students expressed a wish to remove the “Red” from “Red Raiders” as well.
But several students and alumni of the school spoke against changing the mascot and its image at all, saying generations of students, and particularly Belmont High School athletes, have been proud to be Red Raiders.
Opponents of changing the mascot said they consider it as honoring American Indians, and as paying tribute to their warrior heritage.
A vote taken at the meeting showed that by a 3-1 margin, residents and students wanted to keep the Red Raiders name and the image attached to it. Principal Daniel Clary said after the meeting that the logo and name would likely remain as they are.
But students remain adamant about changing the face, Dreyer said, and they will be presenting the results of votes taken on the matter over the past few weeks.
“There is one more student vote to be collected on Tuesday,” she said.
“This has been a good process for both the students and community. The students have been thoughtful and respectful,” Dreyer said.
The school board meets Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at the Belmont Elementary School.