Southern York County students propose focusing on warrior image in upcoming rebranding

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
Susquehannock logo on a banner at Susquehannock High School Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Following the Southern York County school board's decision in April to retire the district's Native American mascot, the board got its first update on the development of a new logo Thursday.

A group of graphic art and marketing students from Susquehannock High School gave a presentation to the board Thursday night about the district's rebranding. The students did not propose a specific image to replace the old logo in the presentation. Superintendent Sandra Lemmon said the board will receive another update in June.

The students proposed a simple design for the new logo that focused on warrior imagery and avoided Native American symbols, such as feathers, arrows and spears. The now-retired logo was criticized for being racially insensitive, leading to its retirement.

More:Southern York County schools to retire Native American mascot

More:Susquehannock High's mascot: Nearly 4,000 signed petition, but no one spoke up at meeting

After the presentation, five parents spoke against the rebranding. Several parents requested the board table the discussion, despite the fact that the board already voted 7-2 to retire the logo. The parents argued that the board was ignoring the majority of district residents, who they say did not want to remove the logo, and that they felt the logo was not offensive. 

Debate about the old mascot started last year, following calls for the district to change it amid nationwide criticism of depictions of Native Americans in mascots. The board instructed a diversity committee to research the issue, surveyed the public and heard from Native American organizations before finally making a decision in April. 

The vote was controversial among board members. Ronald Groncki, one of the two votes against retiring the logo, resigned from the board effective Thursday. Lemmon said Groncki referenced the board vote on the logo as a reason behind his decision in his resignation letter.