SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington state now longer allows the use of Native American names, symbols, or images as public school mascots. The Spokane Public Schools board is taking its first steps to comply with this new law in its meeting Wednesday.
North Central High school Junior Ivy Pete helped see this law pass. She told KREM 2's Amanda Roley she is excited to see her efforts come to fruition.
"I can finally take a breath for a moment and kind of just feel so privileged to be a part of the process," Pete said. "I'm very grateful for our community, for alumni, for our administration. Even with this bill being passed, I think there's a lot of work to do and there's a lot of change that's going to come. But the hard part is over."
Here's what the process looks like moving forward.
Both schools will follow district procedure for changing their mascot. That starts by gathering input from students, staff and the school community. Then, they will present their recommendation to the board.
The new mascot must meet the following criteria: it should represent the spirit of the school, identify with a characteristic of the school community, encourage pride and energy, and represent courage and integrity. It must also avoid representation or association with weapons or stereotyping various cultures.
The schools will also work with a professional graphic artist on the design.
A new mascot must be implemented in both schools by January 2022.
That means, Garry Middle School and North Central High School must present their recommendation no later than the board's only meeting in December 2021.
District approves the new mascots, it will work on facility modifications. This includes replacing school jerseys or symbols of the previous mascot with the new one.
The expectation is to complete these changes within the next school year, according to Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson.
That's something Ivy is looking forward to seeing next year as a senior.
"That was kind of my vision like, I'm not leaving until this is completed sort of thing," Pete said. "So, tonight is very exciting."
Also on the agenda, the school board will vote on the request to change the name of Sheridan Elementary. A public hearing was already held to gather input on this request.
Upon board approval, Sheridan will collect community feedback on name recommendations to present to the board.