Howard Johnson called his fellow Roseburg school board members hypocrites during Wednesday’s meeting, as they voted to approve a policy entitled “All Students Belong” but remained silent on the Roseburg High School mascot name.

Johnson, who is a Black man, noted that approving a policy with such a title, while not acknowledging that members of the community have said they do not feel as though they belong because of the racist mascot name, is hypocritical.

The renaming of the Roseburg High School mascot was thrust back into the spotlight earlier this year, amid nationwide rallies for equity.

School board member Micki Hall said, “The groundwork had been laid to get rid of the mascot.”

In recent months, the school board approved policies that require a unanimous vote during two meetings to change the name of any mascot or building in the school district.

Renaming the Roseburg Indians mascot has not been brought up by the school board or administrators at a public meeting in 2020. Community members and alumni have consistently voiced their concerns on the issue.

A workshop on equity was supposed to take place this summer but didn’t.

The policy that was approved Wednesday is a rewording of a state-mandated policy that prohibits the use of the Confederate flag, a swastika or a noose on school grounds, except when part of the instruction.

“All students are entitled to a high quality educational experience, free from discrimination or harassment based on perceived race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national original,” the policy reads.

Johnson said until the board decides to include the mascot in the language he would vote against the policy.

The policy was adopted with six members voting in favor and one against.

Another agenda item that passed on a 6-1 vote was the approval of the Oregon School Boards Association’s legislative priorities and principles.

Rod Cotton voted against, saying the document was “too vanilla” and he hoped representatives would take a firmer stand.

The board did unanimously agree on the superintendent and board goals for 2020-2021 and the 2021 budget calendar.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203.

Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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(6) comments

Roseburg Reader

I still want to know- and no one has EVER answered or given an opinion on this - how come no one complains about the Riddle Irish, or the Sheldon Irish. Isn't that an ethnicity? And they use a leprechaun as their mascot. Isn't that demeaning to the Irish people? Isn't that racist? You never see anyone protesting that......WHY??????

mworden

I'm half Irish. My ancestors were discriminated against, mostly by people of British Heritage. As the signs said, No Dogs or Irish allowed. That was hurtful. But the United States government never tried to commit genocide against my ancestors. They did not steal our lands. They didn't dislocate us from our homes and make us walk thousands of miles along a Trail of Tears to reservations where we were left to scratch out survival. The United States government did not fight my ancestors in the Irish Wars and work for generations to keep my people in poverty, That's WHY!!! Dia dhaoibh agus do mhuintir.

mworden

Rogue River War of 1855-1856

The final Rogue River War began early on the morning of October 8, 1855, when self-styled volunteers attacked Native people in the Rogue Valley. It ended in June 1856 with the removal of most of the Natives in southwestern Oregon to the Coast Reservation, which later became the Siletz Reservation.

https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/rogue_river_war_of_1855-1856/#.X7jNwLvYo4g

The Battle of Hungry Hill Fought Outside Roseburg Oregon

In the remote mountains of southwestern Oregon, researchers have uncovered a pre–Civil War battlefield that was lost for more than a century and a half. The Battle of Hungry Hill was a pivotal fight during the Rogue River Wars of 1855 to 1856, a conflict between Oregon settlers and Native Americans. The battle, a defeat for the U.S. Army and a local militia, prompted the government to evict the native population from Oregon’s Rogue and Umpqua Valleys.

https://www.archaeology.org/issues/60-1301/trenches/312-battle-hungry-hill-oregon

Thomas Hall

Schools often think of 'clever' slogans for their educational program. When I

taught my district used the catch-phrase "A world class education for all!" Yet

25% of the kids weren't graduating!

Howard Johnson is an asset to the board and community. If Roseburg High

were labled the Roseburg Mexicans, would we think that was appropriate?

Children of color need to feel a part of the school and community.

Plus, to say that changing a mascot requires a 100% vote is ridiculous!

Not every Indian is concerned about the Roseburg mascot, but many are

locally and nationally.

garyd

[thumbup]

Rise722

I thought the mascot thing was agreed upon years ago....what's the problem now? And I am Native American...

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