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Tulsa Union Public Schools Considering Mascot Name Change

Union Public Schools

One of the largest public school districts in Oklahoma might be changing its mascot and branding.

The board of education for Union Public Schools in Tulsa met on Monday, July 13 and voted to form a committee to review the districts use of a racial slur on it's branding and logos that had been by the National Football League's Washington D.C. team.

Students and members of the community addressed the school board voicing their opposition to the mascot and their approval of a committee to review a possible name change.

Desiree Wilson, a parent whose student attends Rosa Parks Elementary, says the greater community deserves better.

"Regardless if any offense is intended, it is an ethnic slur," Wilson said. "This is an opportunity to become better and we have great leaders who've made the same decision."

Membership to this committee will be decided by August and the mascot's fate will be decided by December.

The specific mascot, and many other ones referencing Native Americans, can be found scattered throughout Oklahoma. High schools in Kingston, McLoud and Rush Springs, each share the longtime nickname of the Washington D.C. NFL team.

McLoud, 30 miles east of Oklahoma City, has had controversy surrounding their mascot recently. In 2015, the school board there voted to keep the name. But it’s unclear if change could come this year. A message left for school officials by StateImpact Wednesday was not returned.

The Lawton Constitution reported Rush Springs in southwest Oklahoma is revisiting their mascot. While a Texas television station reported the Red River border town, Kingston, is unlikely to revisit or change theirs any time soon.

Allison Herrera covered Indigenous Affairs for KOSU from April 2020 to November 2023.
Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
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