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High school replaces historic ‘Minutemen’ mascot

A school bus. (Lori Martin/Dreamstime/TNS)
August 21, 2023

In a decision that has stirred both the community’s sentiments and financial sensibilities, Concord High School, located in the California Bay Area, is replacing its historic “Minutemen” mascot with the “Bears.”

The move by the Mount Diablo Unified School District board, following a 4-1 vote, has ignited a fierce debate on the importance of preserving historical symbols and the cost implications of such changes.

The school’s mascot was a nod to Concord’s namesake, Concord, Massachusetts, the epicenter of the significant Battles of Lexington and Concord from the American Revolutionary War. The “Minutemen” who played a pivotal role in those battles were known for their rapid response against British forces.

Matt Shupe, the Republican Party chairman of the Contra Costa County, expressed his disapproval of the mascot change, stating, “It’s disgusting to disrespect those who fought and sacrificed to defeat tyranny and ultimately found our great nation, and to add insult to injury, they’re replacing it with a meaningless and trite mascot that viciously murders small animals.”

Shupe blasted the decision further, highlighting the mascot change’s estimated $200,000 price tag as a “dramatic waste of money.” He added, “These woke schools need to prioritize teaching math, reading, and writing to catch up from the educational losses during the pandemic rather than spitting on the memories of our veterans.”

NBC Bay Area revealed that the initiative to reconsider the mascot began a year ago with the intent to replace human mascots with non-human figures. A student committee was entrusted with the task of identifying a new symbol. While concerns about the “Minutemen” figure displaying a firearm were raised, others believed a gender-neutral mascot was necessary.

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In defense of the move, Linda Mayo, a board member of the Mount Diablo Unified School, emphasized the emotional wellbeing of students, saying, “If changing a mascot will make students feel welcomed, embraced, and empowered them to participate more at the school, then I will support this.”

However, not everyone feels represented by this decision. According to NBC Bay Area, Matthew Dashner, an alumnus of Concord High School, criticized the process for not widely consulting current students. His mother, Lynette Dashner, pointed to more pressing concerns, such as the school’s maintenance issues, suggesting that the funds allocated for the mascot change could be better utilized.

Mount Diablo Unified School District’s superintendent, Dr. Adam Clark, responded to the concerns, linking the mascot’s retirement with the recent “mass shootings and killings of students on school campuses.” He told Fox News that the image of a “male minutemen soldier holding a rifle was not a symbol many of our students and staff felt created a welcoming environment.”

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.