Mascot issue sparking debate at school meetings

2 weeks ago 49

CAMBRIDGE — Two members of the Cambridge schoolhouse committee sparred Thursday evening implicit a presumption astatine past month’s gathering by Andre Billeaudeaux, the enforcement manager of the Native American Guardian’s Association.

At the board’s August meeting, Billeaudeaux introduced himself arsenic a societal idiosyncratic and cited a survey purporting to amusement that students astatine a schoolhouse successful Virginia were harmed by efforts to region the school’s Native American mascot, arsenic compared to students astatine a akin schoolhouse wherever determination were nary specified efforts. Billeaudeaux said his “mentor” successful defending Native-themed mascots is renowned societal scientist Phil Zimbardo, a prof emeritus astatine Stanford University.

School committee subordinate Neil Gifford said his reappraisal of Billeaudeaux’s credentials didn’t enactment Billeaudeaux’s claims. He recovered nary denotation online that Billeaudeaux holds immoderate precocious degrees, and Billeaudeaux had contributed to lone 1 peer-reviewed published paper, successful 2004. When contacted, Gifford said, Zimbardo denied being Billeaudeaux’s mentor and accused Billeaudeaux of “deliberately weaponizing psychology” to support Native-themed mascots.

Billeaudeaux claims 2% Native ancestry but is not an enrolled subordinate of immoderate recognized tribe. He was accompanied successful August by 2 members of the Navajo Nation, who said they similar Native mascots. Gifford contacted the National Congress of American Indians, which has opposed Native-themed mascots since 1968. In its reply, the NCAI said it is the lone radical that officially represents each 573 federally recognized tribes, and NAGA has nary authorization to correspond Native Americans.

Gifford said helium tried to work the survey Billeaudeaux cited, but the nexus connected the NAGA website was breached and helium could not find it elsewhere.

“Presenting mendacious credibility hurts our decision-making process,” Gifford said.

School committee subordinate Dillon Honyoust, who supports keeping the Cambridge Indian, said it was “unfair” to knock Billeaudeaux erstwhile helium wasn’t contiguous to support himself. The survey Billeaudeaux cited was utilized successful 2 tribunal cases to defy efforts to region Native mascots, Honyoust said.

The NAGA members were successful the country collecting oral histories and came to the committee gathering to “share their opinions,” Honyoust said. “It’s unacceptable to support radical from speaking due to the fact that what they’re saying doesn’t align with your views,” helium told Gifford.

Gifford said helium defends everyone’s close to talk but was opposed to the instauration of questionable information. The committee has passed a solution that would let it to entreaty the ruling that the schoolhouse indispensable discontinue the Indian, but hasn’t acted connected it yet, Gifford said.

“New accusation is inactive influencing us,” Gifford said.

Gifford’s comments connected Billeaudeaux’s inheritance were supported by nonmigratory Rachel Costello, who spoke during the nationalist remark period. Costello besides contacted Zimbardo. Zimbardo said it is “not acceptable to usage mascots that mock radical and taste groups,” and that determination is nary probe showing that students are harmed by replacing specified mascots.

“He wholly misrepresents my stand,” Zimbardo said.

Although Billeaudeaux was 1 of his undergraduate students, Zimbardo denied being his existent mentor.

“I virtually person nary representation of him,” Zimbardo said.

Board president Shay Price said the board’s ineligible squad submitted a reappraisal of the board’s ineligible options to support the mascot earlier that day. He would nonstop it to the different committee members Friday.

In different matters:

  • Drama Club members Carol Boehlke and Adeline Record asked the committee to hold a twelvemonth earlier bringing the play nine backmost from Hubbard Hall, wherever it has been gathering for respective years. The students said they preferred Hubbard Hall’s theatre spaces and appreciated the assistance they received from Hubbard Hall’s staff. Earlier successful the meeting, the committee approved extending its declaration with Hubbard Hall for the 2022-2023 schoolhouse year.
  • School Superintendent Douglas Silvernell said the school’s gathering committee looked astatine improving oregon replacing the school’s auditorium arsenic 1 of a fig of superior projects connected the school’s privation list. In its draught report, the committee said a caller auditorium would outgo $9 cardinal to $10 million, each of which would autumn connected territory taxpayers. There was besides the question of wherever a caller auditorium would spell connected the school’s campus. Improving the existing auditorium, however, would suffice for authorities aid. Other priorities are creating rooms for career-technical education, agriculture, and store classes, redesigning classrooms, and improving facilities for the arts programs, Silvernell said. Replacing the diversion fields with artificial turf was besides discussed. The gathering committee wants to clasp a referendum connected $8 cardinal to $10 cardinal successful superior projects successful March to support authorities gathering assistance coming into the district, Silvernell said. “Eight to 10 cardinal won’t screen each those things,” truthful the committee volition person to take which projects to contiguous archetypal and clasp the others for 5 to 10 years, helium said.
  • The committee created a manager of pupil services/associate simple main presumption for the 2022-23 schoolhouse twelvemonth and appointed Darlene King arsenic an interim. King, an experienced educator, volition person a per diem wage of $550. Silvernell said since the schoolhouse twelvemonth has already started, helium didn’t privation schoolroom teachers competing for the position, and King was available.

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