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These are very painful and stormy times in the life of Napa High School.

The community is dealing with an incident of hazing, and the district is punishing these young people, and the football program to the maximum extent possible, which strikes many as unnecessary and harmful for all concerned. The entire highly respected NHS football coaching staff has now resigned over the way this matter has been handled by the district.

So why then, at this exact moment, with NHS families grieving and struggling to get by, have Dr. Sweeney and the board elected to interject yet another highly emotionally charged issue -- recommending that the Indian mascot be discarded?

Simple decency and judgment should have dictated that the mascot issue, not being urgent, could wait for calmer times. Apparently, these qualities are in short supply among the powers that be and they decided that this was the time to add yet another controversy to the mix. This is unconscionable.

The NHS mascot issue is one that should concern all parents and students throughout the district. First, there are real questions about the process that Dr. Sweeney used to arrive at the "recommendation." A closed working group away from public scrutiny members chosen through an unknown process and meetings conduct ed in secrecy. Why? Isn't this something that concerns the broader Napa community and therefore should be widely discussed and debated?

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Dr. Sweeney has already publicly declared that if the Working Group recommendation is approved by the district board on April 20, he will immediately begin implementation of removing the mascot. Again, I ask why? How much will it cost to change the mascot, and where is that money going to come from? Which programs will be dropped to pay for ripping out the Indian logo and changing all branding- student counseling? The class size reduction program? Truancy enforcement?

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If you have been to recent NVUSD board meetings, you would hear students pleading for additional mental health resources and stress counseling. Students are experiencing mental and psychological challenges as never before. Yet, Dr. Sweeney wants to divert funds to changing a mascot?

These issues and the questionable judgment being shown by our NVUSD administrators are why it is so imperative that concerned parents and students show up at the NVUSD meeting Thursday, April 6 and make their voices heard. It's time for the Board and our Superintendent, Dr. Sweeney, to hear from their constituents.

Rich Jacobson

Napa

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