Mixed Reactions As School Board Votes To Change Capitol Hill Mascot

Tuesday, December 9th 2014, 6:49 pm
By: News 9

Capitol Hill High School will have a new mascot next year. The Oklahoma City school board voted to change the school's current mascot, the Redskins; a name that has been deemed by many as offensive.

The mascot on the sign on the east lawn of Capitol Hill High School will soon change after an unanimous vote by the school board. But the vote from students and alumni isn't as decisive.

“I'm very proud to be a Redskin. Once a Redskin, always a Redskin,” said Capitol Hill Senior, Arnold Hernandez.

"Our mascot is insensitive to a group of people who find it incredibly offensive," said Cheri McKinney, a Capitol Hill English Teacher.

The term “Redskins” has been called a slur and offensive by ChangetheMascot.org, a national movement in the push to rid schools and programs of the "R-Word”, most notably the NFL's Washington Redskins, which has kept its name for now, unlike Capitol Hill High School, now that the Oklahoma City School Board voted 8-0 to change the school's mascot.

"This is a sensitivity issue and we need to be sensitive to how Native Americans feel about the title," said McKinney.

As an English teacher, Cheri McKinney walks by the banners and logos every day in Capitol Hill. And while she knows those symbols honor 88 years of tradition, she encourages her students to consider other traditions as priority.

"I have them recall what are some of the names you find offensive that people would refer to your people as and how would you feel if we used that for our mascot," said McKinney.

For Hernandez, the term Redskin comes with pride.

"Redskins are proud, strong individuals that reflects to us as a whole school," said Hernandez.

"We don't like it, don't like it a little bit," said Janet Muse, a Capitol Hill Alum.

A student in the class of 1966, Muse agreed the name should stay.

"Back in the 60's we didn't know if you were Native American or not or Hispanic or not. We were all just Redskins," said Muse.

But for another senior, Luis Hernandez he hopes this step will prepare for tomorrow's step.

"Something small like this when are we ever going to take a strong step forward for something bigger," said Hernandez.

Some alumni did tell News 9 they do plan to organize a group in hopes to overturn the board's decision. School Administrators will work with a committee for a new mascot. And also to encourage a more serious understanding of Native American culture, the school district decided to ban Land Run reenactments.