'Many of the members were in favor of the ban'

'Many of the members were in favor of the ban' »Play Video
Dr. Larry Parsons, the Roseburg School District Superintendent, speaks to KPIC News on Friday, about his reaction to the meeting in Salem, where the state board of education is likely to enact a ban on Native American mascots.

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The Oregon Board of Education members said Thursday at their public meeting that they will consider forcing schools with Native American mascots to change.

Roseburg students have been known as the Indians since 1918, but that could soon change.

The board has said they will consider the rule, but won't be able to formally enact it until May.

Roseburg School District Superintendent Larry Parsons, says he's frustrated with the outcome of Thursday's meeting, which he attended. "The board spoke and had some discussion time," he told KPIC News on Friday. "It was pretty clear, at that moment, that many of the members were in favor of the ban."

When the mascot issue was first brought up in the meeting, members of the public spoke, and Parsons says the vast majority did not want school mascots to change. "Of that 40 or so who testified, only three were in opposition, or in favor of a ban. The others, including many Native American students and adults, opposed a ban."

In her report on the matter, State Superintendent Susan Castillo argued that a Native American mascot can be harmful for a student. She noted that it is not uncommon for rival schools to say things like 'Kill the Indians."

>> Read the report from Susan Castillo

Castillo adds: "it is reasonable to conclude that a Native American student who frequently hears words and sees violent actions taken against Native American images, would have fear of physical harm."

If the board decides to force schools to change mascots it would be up to the districts to pay for it.

Parsons says that could cost more than $350,000.

The board will make a decision on the matter in May.