Teachers, not Students, Behind Drive to Change Concord High Mascot in Spite of High Cost to School
We, the undersigned on behalf of the majority of alumni and students, disapprove as to how the vote for changing the mascot at Concord High School was managed. The MDSUD’s Governing Board should abide by their original vote which defeated the Resolution on 28 June 2023.
The process was biased in favor of change, coerced the students into voting, and violated several MDUSD policies. If true and accurate information had been disseminated, the resulting vote would have been much different.
Misleading and incomplete information was sent in the messages to students and families. Emails implied the School Board was mandating the change to a non-human mascot and that the students had no voice in the matter.
This violates School Board Policy 6144 on Controversial Issues. “Instruction shall be presented in a balanced manner, addressing all sides of the issue without bias or prejudice and without promoting any particular point of view.”
Spearheaded by a teacher, yet it was never disclosed as to who exactly decided it was necessary to change the mascot or why. There was no discussion or survey about what the students or alumni thought about the Minutemen as a mascot.
The students and alumni were simply told that it would change. This is in violation of School Board Policy 5137 on Positive School Climate. “Students shall have opportunities to voice their concerns about school policies and practices and to share responsibility for solving problems that affect their school.”
Why is it acceptable to name a school after a specific person with all their foibles, but not have a generic mascot of a group of individuals who made a great and significant contribution to the founding of our country? The students at Concord High School can at least identify a Minuteman while they have absolutely no idea who James W. Dent or Bertha Romaine were.
There were 1180 enrolled students for the 2022/2023 school year. At the very least, a simple majority of 591 votes would have been needed to reach the more than 50% threshold. In the last round of voting, there were a total of 500 votes cast. This underwhelming voter turnout is a direct reflection of the students’ apathy and lack of support for a mascot change. The final vote was almost evenly split between the three options given, (Minutemen was not an option), and the winning mascot, Bear, received only 117 votes or 9.9% student support.
We would like the MDUSD Governing Board to stand by their initial decision and allow Concord High School to keep the Minutemen as a mascot. At the very least, the school should give the students honest and accurate information and use a third-party polling tool to allow students to vote freely. If a true majority of the students were in favor of updating or even completely changing the mascot, we would support them.
Ashley Barrows, Lynette Dashner, Matt Dashner, Laurie Erickson Gomez, Mark Lloyd, Julie Melendres Lyster