BELLEFONTE – Bellefonte’s mascot problems just won’t go away.
Earlier this week, the Bellefonte school board released a statement regarding the district’s name and image. The statement included the following:
— The district does not have and has not had a mascot for many years.
— The district does not use and has not used the image of the Indian head for some time. The only image currently used by the county is block B. That’s why when the stadium was built four years ago, block B was placed on the 50-yard line.
– We are the red strikers.
— There will be no forced removal of certain remaining Native American-related items or images that have great meaning to a substantial majority of students and residents in the Bellefonte Area School District.
At this week’s school board meeting, board president Jeff Steiner addressed the issue.
“The board has been receiving more and more – over the last two weeks – emails about people on this topic.” Steiner said. “I think while some of us at the table understand where things are, at every point we’ve communicated it well and everybody’s there … they don’t understand or they don’t understand or they’re wanting it to be what it is.” they want it to be.”
Steiner said he drafted the board’s policy based on some of the questions and emails he received. He based the statement on decisions made at the January 11, 2022 school board meeting.
He emphasized the fact that the school no longer has a mascot.
“We just don’t have one. This is something we all agree on. We don’t want one, so it’s really a non-issue,” Steiner said.
Block B usage has really taken off, Steiner said.
“I think that’s informative for people who still think we’re using the Indian head … at this point, the district never uses the Indian head.” Steiner said.
However, he said the people of the district can still use the Indian head.
“Private citizens are free to do so,” Steiner explained, “and we don’t have the ability to tell them otherwise … it’s just something we have no control over.”
Board member Donna Smith — who is a member of the district’s branding committee — said the students were “happy” to have the clarification.
“They said, ‘This is the best thing we’ve done so far to make it clear.’ It’s no longer in uniforms or any aspect of the school.” said Smith.
Smith noted that Bellefonte B cannot be branded as is because it is simply a font and a color.
“Our job is to try to come together and decide who are we?” And how do we put it in B,” Smith asked.
Board vice president Jon Guizar suggested a brand guide once things are finalized.
Superintendent Tammie Burnaford noted that there are very few pieces of team equipment with Native American imagery.
“Once they cycle out, they will be (gone)” Burnaford said.