ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — An online petition with more than 330 signatures is circulating to try to do away with Edgewood Senior High School’s mascot, a warrior.
For 57 years, Edgewood’s mascot has been a warrior, represented by a caricature of a Native American wearing a traditional headdress. The mascot is pictured on the school sign, uniforms, t-shirts, jackets and memorabilia.
The petition at change.org that is titled, “Retire the Edgewood Warriors Mascot,” by Edgewood Senior High graduate Class of 2011, Ronny Woodburn, states: “As we continue into the new decade, it is becoming more and more clear that any and all behavior directed towards any group of marginalized people is unacceptable and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. This includes the usage of an indigenous person in the form of a mascot.”
It goes on to say, “It is hopeful that the leaders of Buckeye Local School District will rise to the occasion and do what is expected of them to do as leaders in education.”
When contacted Tuesday afternoon, Woodburn did not want to comment further than his statement on the petition at http://chng.it/Xz6TMfV5GT.
The Board of Education and school officials were sent a link to the online petition Monday.
Board President, Shannon Pike, said the board received the petition.
“Like an concerns, we will take the time to thoroughly review it,” she said.
Maureen Lynch, a 2015 Edgewood graduate, who supports the online petition, said, “The petition addresses the racist, anti-indigenous mascot ... I, unfortunately, feel very embarrassed and ashamed that I took part in different traditions while being a student at Edgewood. From the headdress worn by the male head cheerleader, to the uniforms worn by majorettes, the songs that include traditional Native American influences, the tomahawk chant at football games ... under the guise of school spirit.”
She added, “Looking back now, I cringe at the thought of me sporting war paint on my face during a halftime marching band show.”
A school teacher, Lynch said she would never work at a school with a racist mascot, and if she had children, she would not send them to such a school.
“I know of many other alumni who agree with this, and you’ll see that people who’ve signed the petition also agree,” she said.
In an email, Lynch reached out to Buckeye School Board members asking them for their time and consideration.
Board member Mary Wisnyai, a 1965 graduate of Edgewood Senior High School, said her class chose the mascot and school colors during their sophomore year. They believe a warrior is a good mascot — proud and brave.
“We always treated our mascot with the highest respect and to suddenly change it is wrong,” she said. “Thousands of kids have graduated from Edgewood and nobody has said anything.”