Kitzhaber signs mascot bill into law
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber signed a bill into law Thursday, March 6, to allow Oregon schools with Native American mascots, such as the Scappoose High School Indians, to potentially keep their mascots if permitted by local tribes. The bill, Senate Bill 1509, also directs the State Board of Education to grant approval of any conforming agreement made between Oregon school districts and federally recognized tribes for schools to retain their Native-themed mascots.
The bill is a response to a 2012 decision by the State Board of Education to prohibit the use of Native American mascots in Oregon schools by 2017. Now, school districts will be able to work with tribes and the State Board of Education if they wish to retain their mascots before the 2017 cutoff.
Aside from the role of the State Board of Education, the bill resembles a Senate bill Kitzhaber vetoed last year, arguing its exceptions to the board's 2012 decision to ban Native mascots were too broad. Senate Bill 215 would have left the decision solely up to individual districts and tribes to reach agreements over mascot use.
In an earlier interview with the Spotlight, Scappoose School District Superintendent Stephen Jupe said he expects the district can reach an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, but may have to change elements of the mascot to more accurately reflect local Native American culture and history.Add a comment