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Following Marcola mascot change, one teacher still claims there's a problem

Etheredge was a member of the board that unanimously adopted the mustang mascot in April of 2017, taking the place of the "Mohawk Indians." However, Etheredge said the rendering is not what he had in mind. (SBG)

MARCOLA, Ore. - The Marcola School District may need to revamp their school logo again. That is, if one teacher gets his way.

Fifth grade teacher John Etheredge says the logo still promotes racism. This week he filed a formal complaint with the Oregon Department of Education, saying the mascot violates state rules that prohibit public schools from using Native American images in their logos.

Etheredge was a member of the board that unanimously adopted the mustang mascot in April of 2017, taking the place of the "Mohawk Indians." However, Etheredge said the rendering is not what he had in mind.

"It is decorated with war paint, feathers, beads, even a mohawk-style mane," Etheredge said. "There is simply no example of when it is appropriate to appropriate somebody's culture or anybody's culture as a mascot."

Marcola Superintendent and high school principal Bill Watkins said the district has already spent upwards of $40,000 to implement the new mustang logo. Watkins said the rendering was designed using feedback from students and staff and unanimously approved by the school board.

Watkins said the imagery is used in many cultures and symbolizes universal characteristics like peace and perseverance.

"Let's focus on the similarities of all the cultures," Watkins said. "How we're more alike than we are different. Because when we focus on the differences of the cultures, that creates racism and hate."

Etheredge said he would like to see changes made by the time school starts in the fall. The Oregon Department of Education confirmed that they received Etheredge's complaint and are moving forward with the review process.

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