ST. JOHN | What began as a discussion about unifying the mascot for all Lake Central School Corp. schools has erupted into an online petition drive against the move that has collected more than 1,200 signatures.
“Indians has been our identity as a school and as a community for years now. Students grow up looking forward to becoming a Lake Central Indian. Our school has been making too many drastic decisions without any regards to what the students want. First we lost our normal block schedule, now our mascot?”
This message on the petition started by Lake Central students on www.change.org has prompted replies from Tri-Town residents and alumni from across the nation.
Lake Central High School Principal Robin Tobias said the discussion among students, staff and the community to unify the Lake Central School Corp. mascot began several months ago and was prompted by the construction at both the high school and Protsman Elementary.
“The purpose of the discussion is to establish a more collective vision of support and enthusiasm for all schools of the Lake Central School Corp.,” Tobias said.
Many school districts throughout the U.S. already have a single mascot, symbol and logo for all schools, he said.
A unified mascot for all Lake Central schools would also create a “unification of spirit, a shared vision and a shared identity” for all students in grades kindergarten through 12th, according to Tobias.
Lake Central High School already has seen a major change in the mascot since the 1990s because of such inappropriate use of the Indian symbol such as costumes, war paint, chants and feather headdresses, he said.
“The Indian warrior with the tomahawk was eliminated then because of cultural sensitivity to Native Americans,” Tobias said.
There are concerns about changing the mascot, the principal said. Those include the tradition and history of the school, and the cost of rebranding teams, colors and artwork.
Discussions with the PTO, booster groups, staff, students and alumni will continue and are just part of the process, the principal said.
Those additional steps include
• Surveying stakeholders for their input and opinions
• Establishing a formal committee to review input, suggestions, data, new name/artwork
• Developing a public form
“We are still in the discussion phase,” Tobias said. “No decisions have been made.”