Volume 94, Issue 85

Friday, March 2, 2001


NEWS

B.C. to lower tuition fees - Premier announce 5% cut beginning this fall

First-year report gives fresh look at students

Seneca moves to China

U of T faculty association files grievance in support of prof

Mitchell High keeps Blue Devil

Amputees have nothing to fear

Corroded Disorder

Mitchell High keeps Blue Devil

By Clare O'Hara
Gazette Staff

The devil is still in business at Mitchell District High School.

According to David Hurley, Mitchell's principal, Exeter District School Board trustees voted 6-2 Tuesday night to allow the Mitchell school to keep their faithful mascot, the Blue Devil.

A request to remove the mascot was brought to the school's attention about two years ago when the parents' council suggested the mascot was unsuitable and should be changed, Hurley said.

The request was taken to the school board after the board adopted a new anti-racism and ethnocultural policy this fall. Some interpreted the policy's restrictions on religious symbolism in schools as proof the Blue Devil must go, he explained.

Hurley said he felt the issue was whether to accommodate the wishes of a small minority objecting to the mascot. "Here we have an issue where people are offended, and you have to think whether you, as a society, change for these people or do you say 'I'm sorry we can't change for everyone'."

Now that the board has decided the mascot will stay, Hurley said he has a new challenge to deal with. "I don't want students not to attend our school because of our mascot. We have to try to make it an inviting environment for all to attend," he said.

Although the devil logo has changed in appearance over the years, Hurley said that during sports games, teams would be emphasizing 'Mitchell' instead of the 'Blue Devils.'

Exeter board trustee Randy Wagner said he did not like the mascot, but was committed to supporting the board's decision and moving on to matters closer to the heart of education. "The Board has made a decision and we'll move on from here," he said, adding the issue is not whether he had a personal problem with it, but how the Board felt as a whole.

Wagner said those who wanted the mascot retired did not have specific objections about the visual look of the cartoon devil, but rather objected to the idea of associating the school with negative imagery and icons.

Paul Battin, the school's student council president, said the student body put up a good fight for their mascot. "We set up a public survey asking the community how they felt. It resulted in 97 per cent of people wanting to retain the mascot," he said.

Battin said the student council initially went to the school board on Feb. 13, returning on the 15th with the complete survey. "With the amount of time we had, we did a really good job putting this together," he said.

Overall, Battin said the student body supports the school's mascot with only a few students who are seriously offended by the devil. "I think that the big issue here is that some people are taking it too seriously. They have to lighten up and not read so far into it."


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Copyright The Gazette 2000