Talawanda High School is dropping its controversial mascot. In a close decision, the Oxford school's board voted Monday night to change the district's mascot from the "Braves" to just the "Brave."
The district created a committee last spring tasked with studying the idea of a change and presenting its findings. You can see the full presentation here.
Communications Director Holli Morrish says the notion of moving away from a Native American reference has come up several times in the past 15 years.
"This is the third time, actually," she says. "This issue has divided community members and repeatedly, over time, people keep bringing this issue forward to the administration and the school board."
The school board voted 3-2 to change the sports mascot.
Morrish says current images of a Native American will be phased out over time. She expects district leaders to begin discussions following the Thanksgiving school break.
Morrish says the board members also spent the last few months engaging with the community, hearing passionate arguments from both sides.
The three members who voted in favor of the change, she says, all cited discussions with Native American community members and former and current Native American students.
"We have Native American students and families living in our community and they do not feel honored by the use of that Native American mascot, and two of the board members said that after hearing from those families they felt compelled that a change should be made," Morrish reports.
The third board member also said his vote was based on discussions with Native American community members. He highlighted a conversation with a former student whom he said told him she had a "really negative experience" as a student.
The branding committee says the new "Brave" mascot reflects bravery, courage, honor and fierceness.
Talawanda is not alone in having such discussions. Miami University dropped its former Redskins moniker in 1996.