May 18—AMESBURY — The acting superintendent is putting out a call for volunteers to help decide whether the Amesbury High School Indian mascot should be replaced.
Amesbury High seniors Sam Cadwell and Meisha Acevedo made a presentation to the School Committee in mid-March to advocate for replacing the mascot.
The Indian mascot, formerly known as the Amesbury Fighting Indian, is a racial stereotype they would like to see phased out over the next five years, according to Cadwell and Acevedo.
Cadwell and Acevedo pointed to the Pentucket Regional School District, which began phasing out its Sachem mascot in 2020.
The AHS Indian had been the subject of a yearlong Amesbury School Committee study that ended in a 5-2 vote in 2016 to keep the mascot.
But the current School Committee voted unanimously in March to create a mascot committee to revisit the issue and make a recommendation once again.
Acting Superintendent Elizabeth McAndrews put out the call for volunteers for the mascot committee Monday afternoon.
The mascot committee, with a maximum of 18 members, would include acting high school Principal Danielle Ricci or her designee, three to four staff members, five students, three to four parents, and three to four community members, according to an email from McAndrews.
"Given that this is an issue about which so many people are passionate it is imperative that all who would like to participate have the opportunity to apply," McAndrews wrote. "I anticipate that there will be more volunteers than permitted, thus, for each of the five subgroups, we will randomly select the individuals who will serve on the committee."
A date for a first meeting would be set once the committee has been selected and a meeting schedule worked out.
The committee is expected to make its final recommendation to McAndrews for review within three months of its formation.
The superintendent would then make a recommendation to the School Committee, which would make the final decision.
McAndrews told The Daily News on Monday that she hopes to have the committee fully staffed by the second week of June.
Interested volunteers can go to https://schools.amesburyma.gov/cms/lib/MA02201857/Centricity/ModuleInstance/11061/Mascot%20Letter.pdf to fill out a volunteer form. The deadline for submissions is May 28 at 3 p.m.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.