State wants schools to drop Native American mascots
UNDATED (NBC) -- The Washington State Board of Education is asking all schools to do away with Native American mascots -- part of an effort to close what state education officials call a "widening gap" between Native American students and their white counterparts.
"Any little thing we can do to help close this gap is important," said Board spokesman Aaron Wyatt.
"That's just ridiculous," said Terri McQuillen, a member of the Makah tribe on the Olympic Peninsula. She recently testified at a meeting regarding Port Townsend High School's mascot, the Redskin.
"My kids all went through that school, and they're all doing just fine," she said. "I was taught to be proud to be a Redskin."
Education officials point to studies that show self-esteem issues among Native American students.
"We are in the business of educating students," said Board member Bernal Baca. "We need to remove any barriers that will impede student success."