116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION - The Marion Independent School board voted to postpone voting on whether or not to adopt the Maverick and still is considering using it as the district's mascot after learning about its racist history in a 5-1 vote, with board member Bill Huntoon opposing postponing the vote.
The school board will bring the issue back to the table in an April 12 board meeting to vote if they will use the mascot Mavericks.
Friday, the Marion Independent School District announced its mascot committee was going to recommend the board not adopt the mascot 'Marion Mavericks,” as previously decided at a board meeting in February.
The word Maverick derives from Samuel A. Maverick, an early 1800s Texas ranger, who was lauded as an independent thinker who refused to brand his cattle.
A community member contacted the district earlier this month informing them Samuel Maverick was also a slave owner and discouraged them from adopting the name as a mascot.
The board voted in favor of changing the districts current mascot of 'Indians” last year after finding it culturally insensitive.
Mike Manderscheid, chair of the mascot committee, said after the committee found out about the racist history of the word maverick before it was a finalist for mascot, they decided they wouldn't have made it a finalist.
'They agreed it would not have been on the list to begin with,” Manderscheid said.
School board member Bill Huntoon said he would 'almost like to go with Maverick.”
'No matter what we pick, somebody is going to find something wrong with it, I guarantee,” Huntoon said.
Board member Carl Lantermans said the board is 'wasting” their time debating the Mavericks mascot.
'We are talking about a mascot,” Lantermans said. 'It has nothing to do with what happened 200 years ago.”
'It appears this administration and committee don't want to be called racist,” he said. 'So desperate not to offend anyone that they run from the table arms failing in the air. They think the mascot is tied to slavery when most would agree this is not true.
'I think about what we're teaching our children - teaching them anything could be perceived as racist. We've taught them that even though they've achieved great things, they will be remembered for their mistakes.”
After reading a passage from the Bible, board member Jon Fitch said it's a 'slippery slope” to debate the word Maverick, saying there is 'nothing wrong with the name.”
Board member Denise Allison said she is 'frustrated” by the process of choosing a new mascot and was unsure which way to vote.
'I just want to make sure we're doing the right thing and setting a good example for our kids and the way we make our decisions,” she said.
Micah Steen, a student at Marion High School and committee member, said he is no longer in favor of moving forward with using 'Mavericks” as the district's mascot.
'I believe we as students should have a good portion of the say in what our mascot is,” Micah said. 'Ultimately, this is something that represents us and our student values, shows independence and strength.
'Perhaps we never do draw the line,” he continued. 'Perhaps we gradually and slowly move on because that's what change is.”
Hannah Cochran, also a student at Marion High School and committee member, said she wants every student to feel safe and comfortable with the mascot they choose.
She envisions the high school creating new chants and naming the student section at athletic events based on the mascot.
'For example, if we chose Wolves as the mascot, we could call ourselves the Pack and name the gym the Den - have something for students to get excited about,” she said.
Hannah said a mascot like 'Indians,” which is the district's current mascot, could offend students who are actually Native American or make them feel unsafe.
If a student dressed up as the mascot, if it's Indian, they would be guilty of cultural appropriation, she said.
Superintendent Janelle Brouwer said the mascot decision is 'setting the course for our future,”
'One of my concerns if we look at moving forward with the Mavericks is from day one is it going to be steeped in controversy?” Brouwer said.
'I wish we were not in this position, and we had done more due diligence in vetting names.”
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