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Mascot name change presentation brought to Dare Board of Education

At the Dare County Board of Education meeting September 8, petitions with 12,759 signatures were presented requesting that mascots at Manteo High and Manteo Middle schools be changed from the current Redskins and Braves, respectively.

A presentation from alumni of Manteo schools made the case for the name change.

Under the agenda item titled New Business, Rachel Endsley, Evan Harrison and Holly Overman read opening statements addressing these points about mascots:

– Race-based mascots simply should not exist.

– They distort history.

– Mascots are not a vehicle for “honoring” and do not educate.

Highlighted was more than 20-plus years of peer-reviewed research showing Native American mascots and related imagery have negative effects on students.

Marilyn Berry Morrison, chief of the Roanoke-Hatteras Indians of Dare County, spoke in a video presentation. “It is past time to change.”

Video presentations from Manteo alumni underscored the support for changing the mascots. Speaking were Rebecca McDonald, Shena Twitty, Orin Beasley and Ebony Selby.

At the end of the presentation, board Chair Bea Basnight said “at this point . . . we’ll take it under advisement.” There was no board discussion.

At the start of the meeting, Keith Parker, director of digital communications and secondary schools read six public comments submitted to the board. One commenter asked that a decision be postponed until others have a chance to speak. Another suggested that “chiefs” as a mascot name might honor Manteo and Wanchese, but get rid of the racial slur; she opposed anything nautical or associated with flight.

Another commenter asked for names of those making the presentation and what state or county they reside; if any are registered members of tribe; what percentage of petition signers are in Dare County; and why did the alumni presenters wait until now to make the request.

Another person made a plea for in-school instruction for special learners.

On the agenda for first reading were proposed policy manual updates related to new Title IX regulations. The proposals first appeared on the board’s agenda in August. During the interim, the board’s policy committee reviewed the proposals and made recommended changes for some.

Board attorney Richard Schwartz reviewed the changes with the entire board.

The new, revised and rescinded policies and regulations now under consideration by the Dare County Board of Education carry the following titles:

New Policies: Discrimination and Harassment Prohibited by Federal Law, Title IX Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex, Title IX Sexual Harassment Prohibited Conduct and Reporting Process, Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Process, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disabilities, Bullying and Harassing Behavior Prohibited, Assaults and Threats, School-Level Investigations, Staff-Student Relations, Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace

Revised Policies: Responding to Complaints, First Amendment Appeal Procedure, Prohibition Against Retaliation, Student Behavior Policies, Student Searches

Rescinded Policies: Sexual Harassment, Harassment and Bullying

New and revised regulations are provided for information purposes only:

New Regulation: Title IX Sexual Harassment – Definitions

Revised Regulations: Code of Student Conduct Regulations, Student Attendance Regulations, Visitors to the Schools Regulations, Community Use of School Facilities Regulations, Use of School Facilities Regulations

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