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Bakersfield City School District board discusses adopting new policy for mascots at local schools

Posted at 10:50 AM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 21:18:34-05

The Bakersfield City School District board held the first reading Monday night to ensure they will have a policy in place to confirm all of their school programs and activities are free of any derogatory or discriminatory school or athletic team names, mascots or nicknames.

The move comes after the Californian Racial Mascot Act passed last year.

The bill states it "would prohibit public schools from using the term Redskins as a school or athletic team name, mascot, or nickname beginning January 1, 2017, subject to specified exceptions."

While no BCSD schools use the name Redskins, the new law also states experts "have concluded that the use of Native American images and names in school sports is a barrier to equality and understanding and that all residents of the United States would benefit from the discontinuance of their use."

BCSD said two schools that have already been highlighted for review are Wayside Elementary School and Frank West Elementary who use the warrior as their mascot, the image they use resembles Native Americans. 

A local parent at Frank West Elementary School said she likes the mascot name and images as they are, "You know I'm pretty sure that anything that has that logo on it is going to change, but I'm pretty saddened by it," said Ginger Rodriguez.

By January 1, 2017 the school board must have a policy in place to ensure the the mascots are not derogatory or discriminatory. 

The exact changes that would take place would be up to the school district's superintendent, but those plans are not yet in motion. 

The second reading and approval of the new policy can come as early December 13th when the board meets again.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. 

Read the full bill here.