Mascot debate heats up at a Wentzville High School

WENTZVILLE. MO - Instead of debating the appropriateness of Civil War monuments, a Wentzville School is talking about the future of its school mascot. Dueling petitions are circulating in Wentzville.  A Wentzville Holt High School alumni said the Indian has been the school mascot since it was founded in 1896. However, the issue facing people seems to be one of the 21st century.

Taylor Morrison is fighting to keep the Indian. She said, “The Indian means strong warrior and that how I feel our school is”.

She graduated from Holt High School a few months ago.  She began a petition to keep the Indian mascot after she saw another petition from senior Simon Osler.  His petition reads in part the Indian is “an outdated and offensive caricature aimed towards Native Americans.” He says  the school should not use an “image that stereotypes and marginalizes a group of people.”

Morrison said, “If it were something like Redskins I could find that as racist but I don’t find Indian as (being) racist.”

I talked to several folks at a local shopping center.  Most people were in favor of keeping the Indian as the mascot, one woman was not sure.  Amy Bzdawka said, “I can definitely understand that side.  Madden: Which side? Some people being more sensitive to it. But it has been their name for years. So, I can understand both sides.”

Simon Oslar declined to be interviewed on camera.  He sent me a statement that says in part, ”the term “Indian” and the imagery that goes along with it can be hurtful to native peoples, we at Wentzville Holt High School can and should do better.”

Taylor Morrison said, “We’re all together as one.  We don’t discriminate against anyone.  I feel like we’re one tribe as some people will say.”  Her petition has about five times more signatures.  Both sides plan to submit them to educators.  Simon Osler’s mother says she didn’t want her son to be interviewed on TV as he’s been the target of ugly attacks by adults online.