LHS students have mixed feelings about the mascot change


The Kansas Board of Education recommended that all Native-American-themed mascots be removed from Kansas schools. This recommendation was made on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022, giving Kansas schools roughly five years to change their mascots. Over 20 schools in Kansas are affected by this change, and Larned is one of them. With an upcoming school board meeting, the fate of the Larned Indians is uncertain.

LHS students have mixed opinions about this recommendation. A survey was sent to students asking them how they felt about this suggestion. 53 students (64.6%) who responded to the survey said that they don’t support the decision at all, 14 students (17.1%) said they understand the reasoning behind the decision but aren’t thrilled, 11 students (13.4%) said that they felt indifferent towards the decision, and 4 students (4.9%) said they supported the decision. When asked why they felt the way they did about the recommended mascot change, one student said, “Because having the school name isn’t for offending anyone. It is just a name that represents our school and people that lived in the past.” Another student with a differing opinion responded to the survey, “Many people find it offensive, and it’d be better just to stay out of that fight.” The purpose of the survey was to uncover varying student opinions and spotlight them to make the student body represented in this complicated choice. 

Students at LHS expressed their concerns about the potential consequences this change could have. A student response to our survey was, “I worry where the money would come from to switch the mascot. It is going to cost a lot of money, and I’m worried that the cost would come out of something else.” While the cost of the change is a significant concern, another major concern is the history associated with the school mascot. Larned’s team mascot has been the Indians since it first had a mascot. If it were to be changed this year, the change would undo many years of Larned’s history as the Indians. 

Sophomore Isabella Bailey mentioned her concerns in regards to the mascot change:

There are some ethical issues that should be considered, but there is a bit more to it than that. There is so much history attached to our current mascot, and changing it would have some negative consequences, too. For example, the insane amount of money that would be spent erasing the mascot’s association with our school.”

LHS students are not the only people with worries regarding the mascot change. Vice principal and athletic director, Roni Ettleman discussed some of his biggest concerns with the change, “It will take a tremendous amount of money and time to change the mascot as it is prevalent all over the district. From uniforms to the sides of buildings to basketball floors.” It is incredibly difficult to go anywhere within any of the Larned school buildings without seeing something Indian-related. If the mascot change were to be approved in the Larned school district, everything involving our mascot would have to be removed. As Ettleman stated, this would include gym floors, sides of buildings, sports uniforms, any Indian-themed items in hallways or classrooms, and possibly the Indian statue by the football field. What would be done with these items and the cost to get rid of them is unknown.

Even though a lot of students are against the mascot change in general, many ideas for a new mascot were recommended. The Commanders, Bison, Longhorns, and Cavalry were the most suggested. Many students also expressed that they believed the mascot should not be changed at all. Students also had varying opinions on how the new mascot should be chosen if our mascot was changed. A student said, “I think it should be something we vote on because there are just too many different options.” While the mascot change is a controversial and potentially emotional process, there is ample time to consider the many factors that contribute to this decision.