HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Hillsborough County School Board voted 5-1 Tuesday to initiate the process to change the existing school mascot at Chamberlain High School.
For eight years, members with the Title VI Native American Parent Advisory Council have fought to change Chamberlain High’s mascot.
“We fought for this for a long time,” Chair of the Title VI Parent Council Shannon Durant said. “It’s just inappropriate. Native Americans are not mascots.”
The Hillsborough County School Board made the decision after listening to a presentation from students at the school. The students did research, put together a survey and got input from alumni, current students and staff.
In the end, Chamberlain High’s SGA recommended to the principal and superintendent that the school mascot should be changed.
The decision isn’t sitting well with several alumni. Betty Sue White Brown is from the class of 1958.
“They should not change our chief,” Brown said. “It’s like breaking millions of hearts, and I hope they can stand it.”
Brown said the school chose the chief mascot, believing they were honoring Indigenous people. She doesn’t believe the school board went about the process correctly.
“Two years later, somebody is going to want to change it again,” Brown said. “No, that’s not fair. They’re doing an injustice to the Chamberlain chief and alumni.”
Outside the school board office Tuesday, the Florida Indigenous Alliance and Title VI parents were ready to move forward.
“You wouldn’t see the Jews or the blacks or the Caucasians mascot but yet it’s okay for the Native Americans to be a mascot,” Durant said.
Title VI Parent Council is now turning their focus on changing the mascot at East Bay High School, which is the Indians.
When students come back in the fall, they’ll come up with new mascot ideas and engage everyone, including alumni. The school board will have to approve the change.
It’s going to cost $17,150 to change all the signs and logos, and another $32,126 for changes to things like uniforms and the stadium banner.
You can read the full agenda here.