The purpose of this letter is to ask for community support, particularly members of the current Napa High students, alumni and faculty, as the NVUSD School Board approaches its historic decision on the future of the Napa High symbol. We hope to persuade the board to allow the school to retain the noble Indian as its symbol. Or, alternatively, to consider another fairer process to determine such an important decision.
The next, and perhaps final, meeting of the school board to have a public discussion on the Indian symbol takes place at the district auditorium on Tuesday, May 9, at 6 p.m. Please come and let your voice be heard.
This letter is being co-authored by the three Napa High alumni who served on the recent task force appointed by the school board to study the issue and make recommendations. After attending every meeting, it’s our collective opinion that virtually every aspect of this task force was flawed:
-- The California Education Code Section 35147 was not adhered to regarding the public’s access to the meetings of this group. The task force met privately and the public was never notified nor invited to attend.
-- The group consisted of nine members who are affiliated with or employed by a department under the NVUSD. There were no Native Americans on the committee who supported retention of the Indian symbol.
-- We believe this process lacked both integrity and equal representation. The above statement alone could lead one to perceive a definite bias.
-- The recommendation of this task force, fortunately, is non-binding and therefore should be ignored.
-- It is our firm belief the vast majority of our local Native American population is in favor of keeping the Indian symbol. For the most part, their voices have not been heard.
-- We know, based on a recent poll of nearly 50 percent of the Napa High student body, that 83 percent were in favor of retaining the Indian symbol.
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-- Far from disrespectful, we believe the Indian symbol for over 100 years has honored Native Americans as a symbol of integrity, nobility and an indomitable spirit.
No one person, or small group of people regardless of their point of view, should determine the outcome which affects thousands of past, present, and future students. This applies particularly to special interest groups from outside the community who stand to gain financially from a symbol change.
Students, alumni and community members, please attend the May 9 meeting and don’t be shouted down by a bunch of outsiders with a financial interest in the outcome.
Glenn Ellen Smith
NVUSD Mascot Committee Task Force
Editor’s Note: The Register asked the school district about public access to the advisory committee meetings. The district maintains that the committee was an ad hoc committee organized by the superintendent and not something organized by the board of trustees itself, and therefore it is not subject to public access requirements under the Brown Act and other state law.