SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — The battle over “Redskin” continues to rage in Social Circle.
It was a bit lopsided Thursday, however, as only two people spoke on the still contentious issue of Social Circle High School’s Native American mascot, both arguing to replace the name, at the monthly meeting of the Social Circle Board of Education.
Since the NFL’s Washington Football Team announced it would no longer use its long-traditional Redskins name back in the summer, other sports teams across the country at high school and college levels have made similar announcements, but despite some pressure from concerned citizens to do the same in Social Circle, the Redskin name remains unchanged locally, a move loudly supported by others.
The supporters did not speak Thursday night, however, as only two people spoke on the name.
Theodoris Gibbs, a former principal of Social Circle Middle School, was one of those.
“I grew up in Social Circle,” Gibbs said. “I went to school here from kindergarten through 12th grade. I was a Redskin. But as I’ve matured in my outlook, I’ve found that name is not acceptable in regards to Native Americans.”
Gibbs said changing the name to something else would be a teaching moment for all of Social Circle’s students.
“The term Redskin is a disparaging term,” Gibbs said.
“The mascot should be changed. My views have changed. But my feelings for my hometown and school have not changed.”
Kesley Provow of Canton also spoke from her perspective as a SCHS alumna.
“This name represents the degradation of a group of people,” Provow said. “The term over time has been used in the context of hatred and violence.”
Provow compared the mascot name to other slurs that once represented everyday words and said it was time Redskin joined such words as unacceptable.
“Change is hard,” Provow said. “But change cannot take away our memories and what they mean to us. We can change the name without changing what Social Circle means to us.”
One other person spoke during the public participation portion of the SCBOE meeting but only to congratulate the system on its extensive prep work to return to school safely in the shadow of COVID-19.
“I want to thank the school board, the superintendent and all of our educators for the successful opening of our school system,” Michael Davis said. “I applaud the school system’s transparency. Thank you for being proactive and doing a great job of planning ahead.”
In other board news, the board approved the purchase of two new school buses at the cost of $93,000 and $96,000, respectively. The board also thanked the Walton County Health Care Foundation for a recent donation of $50,000 for medical equipment and other materials for its nursing program and other health care career prep courses.