CEDAR CITY — The Iron County School Board has voted to change the Cedar High School Redmen mascot.
The board reached the decision by a vote of 3-2 at a special meeting Tuesday evening in Cedar City in the board chambers, 2077 W. Royal Hunte Drive.
The Redmen mascot will be "respectfully" retired at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, according to a news release from the district.
"This has been a challenging, yet crucial process, to evaluate an issue that the school district has been looking at for decades," board president Stephen Allen said in the release. "In keeping with the Iron County School District’s mission statement, it is essential that Cedar High School has a mascot and symbol that is inclusive and honoring of all."
The Cedar Band of the Paiute Tribe of Utah, which is headquartered in Cedar City, did not request a mascot name change, but supported the school district’s review of the name, according to a previous press release from the district.
Native Americans have divided opinions about the Redmen mascot, according to Tuesday's release.
"We need to have a much more robust relationship between Iron County Schools and our local Native American tribes,” Allen said. “We are pleased that our district and local tribes are currently working to establish educational partnerships so that our alumni and student body can find meaningful ways to learn about and honor our Native American heritage.”
A transition team will be formed to facilitate the mascot change, Allen said in the release. The team will include Cedar High School alumni, students and faculty, as well as tribal and community members, he said.
Previously, a mascot committee studied whether or not to change the mascot name at the school. On Jan. 15, that group voted 17-7 to recommend the school district change the mascot, which has been used by the school since the early 1940s.
The committee was not asked to come up with a replacement mascot.
Board members spent lots of time considering and reviewing the recommendation from the mascot committee, according to Allen. The safety and wellbeing of all students at the school was a top priority for board members, he added.
"In the end, the board was split, which shouldn’t be surprising since the community has been split on this issue," he said.
Allen said though the mascot will change, many school traditions will remain the same.
"It is our hope that as we move forward, we will be able to keep many of the traditions and strong ties to the things we have loved and celebrated about Cedar High," he said. "We know that many will be disappointed with the board’s decision, but we sincerely hope that the Cedar City community will embrace the potential for positive change and unite to put the best interests of students first."