The Fulton school district’s making quiet progress towards a new mascot and symbol for the school and its sports teams.
Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch told members of the Board of Education recently that some high school marketing classes have been working on a new identity for the district. “We’re at the infant stage of what it would look like,” he said. Lynch said some of the classes’ ideas are likely to come to the board in November.
The district stopped using its longtime nickname, “The Red Raiders”, and became just “The Raiders” after a 2003 push by the state Education Department to pressure school districts with Native American-related nicknames to change them. The district dropped the use of the Indian head logo at that time as well. Many, but not all, school districts with Native American-related names made changes.
Lynch said recently that he attended meetings with local Native American tribal leaders to talk about the Red Raider nickname. “The tribes were offended,” by the name, he said.
Years later, the Red Raider name is still in use in the community and even by the district. The district’s website’s athletics home page has the masthead “Red Raider Athletics”.
Board member Robbin Griffin noted that research into district archives showed that the Indian head logo was never the official icon or mascot of the district. “It just showed up as vendors (of school-related clothing) offered it as a choice.”
The only icon officially linked to the district is the red block “F” that the district is generally using now, she said.
Board member Dan Pawlewicz said there’s a lot of talk in the community about what the new mascot will be. He suggested the district survey the community. Griffin noted that people also need to know what the mascot and logo cannot be. Lynch said suggestions are always welcome.