Panel to meet to decide fate of school mascot

September 23, 2001|By Lane Harvey Brown | Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF

The panel considering the fate of Havre de Grace High School's Warrior mascot will meet Oct. 4 at the school to hear from members of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, Principal Stephen R. Williams said last week.

Community members who would like to comment may do so by writing a letter, sending an e-mail or testifying before the panel, Williams said. Those who appear before the panel must represent a constituency, he said, such as the PTA or a graduating class.

Richard Regan, a member of the Indian affairs commission, filed a letter of complaint last week with the Harford County public schools over the use of American Indian mascots at Havre de Grace elementary, middle and high schools.

Regan said that although he was encouraged by the handling of the issue, the complaint is an "insurance policy" that would start an appeals process to the state Board of Education if the panel, which includes students, teachers and community members, votes to retain the mascots.

"The complaint also reinforces our position that the policy-makers who get paid to make these decisions shouldn't let the community have the final word in the matter," he said.

The state school board adopted a resolution from the Indian affairs commission in July to stop the use of Native American mascots in public schools. The resolution leaves the final decision to local boards.

Williams urged people to mail or e-mail comments, which the school will compile for panel members. The media center, where the meeting will take place at 7 p.m., will not accommodate a large crowd. Panel members will recommend whether the Warrior mascot should be dropped.

The school's Web site, havrede gracehighschool.com, has a link for e-mail. Written comments should be mailed to The Warrior, Havre de Grace High School, 700 Congress Ave., Havre de Grace 21078. People who want to speak before the panel should call 410-939-6600 before Sept. 30.

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