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Spokane Public Schools to create plan for changing controversial school names, mascots

SPS board members met on Wednesday to discuss the possibilities of renaming schools that honor historical figures with questionable backgrounds.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Race relations in America have been underneath a magnifying glass in 2020.

History has been dug up, often including a flawed past that is built on acts of racism. Spokane Public Schools is looking at these issues on a local scale.

“All members of the community could weigh-in,” said SPS Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson.

The district's effort is to create an inclusive environment starts with the names of different schools in the district.

At first glance, Sheridan Elementary seems regular. There are no glaring issues until realizing the name from a general who oppressed Native American people.

District board members met on Wednesday evening to discuss the possibilities of renaming schools that honor historical figures with questionable backgrounds.

One of the conversations that comes up regarding a name change is the idea that history is being erased or traditions will be ruined because of a new mascot.

Changing a name will only come after full support from the community, the district said. SPS is forming a committee to help with that process.

“Both those who would want the school renamed and maybe those who would prefer it stays with the same name,” Anderson said.

The process will include feedback from alumni and parents of students that attend the school. The public can also submit requests to the superintendent about any issues they have with a school name. Board members will then discuss proper protocol if there's a valid reason for the change.

There’s no specific timetable for changing names like Sheridan right now. Before a rebranding process begins, the cost of changing school property like gym floors will also be factored into the decision.