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Pierce County school mascot ‘warriors’ slated for replacement over new state law

UPDATED: NOVEMBER 29, 2021 AT 12:13 PM
BY
The team that brings you MyNorthwest

Lakewood’s Clover Park High School has announced that it is in the process of changing the school’s mascot to comply with a new state law that prohibits the use of Native American iconography in public schools.

The school, currently home to the “Warriors,” will accept public and community comment on the name change in December. Input will be facilitated via an online survey before the mascot change becomes official in mid-December.

“This change provides us with an important opportunity for our school to create a new mascot that positively reflects our CPHS values, creed and culture,” Clover Park High School Principal Tim Stults wrote in a news release. “We have developed a process to complete this work with the input of our students, staff, families, alumni and community.”

The mascot change will happen immediately upon selection, but the phasing out of imagery, equipment, uniforms, signage and materials will happen gradually throughout the school year, Clover Park reports.

WA Rep. Lekanoff: Banning use of Native mascots is ‘how we honor the first Americans’

The Legislature passed House Bill 1356, effective Jan. 1, 2022, which bans the use of Native American imagery without tribal authorization, finding that its use propagates “a barrier to equality and understanding.”

The law as passed by the Legislature cites cultural appropriation and potential for discrimination among its reasons for outlawing the use of Native American signage in public schools.

“The legislature finds that the use of racially derogatory or discriminatory school mascots, logos, or team names in public schools is antithetical to their mission of providing an equal education to all, and contrary to the goal of making schools safe and respectful learning environments,” the law reads.

“Ultimately, we are in the business of helping students build phenomenal futures and that work will not stop,” the Clover Park release continues. “Our new mascot name and image will provide us with the opportunity to build upon these values and create an environment that we can all be proud of.”

Clover Park High School is among a number of schools set to adapt a name change before the new year. NPR’s KUOW reports that Marysville Pilchuck High School’s “Tomahawks” as well as Totem Middle School’s “Thunderbirds” are set for replacement. Bethel High School replaced the “Braves” with the “Bison” earlier this month.