Mascot Study Group Report & Options for Feedback to the School Committee

Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,

Last night Mr. Todd Bazydlo, Principal of Shrewsbury High School, presented the report of the SHS Mascot Ad Hoc Study Group to the School Committee. The report summarized the approach the study group took, what it learned, and the feedback from stakeholder groups.  While the study group was not able to come to consensus on a single recommendation, the group's report illustrates two options for the School Committee's consideration as pathways forward: to either change the Colonials nickname and mascot entirely, or to keep the Colonials nickname but update the presentation of the mascot.  

You can view the study group's full report document here, you can view the presentation slides here, and you can watch the video of the presentation here.  You may also access links to the report on the online community exchange created by ThoughtExchange here, and a slide deck summarizing that report (including themes and areas of difference/commonality) here.  The co-founder and CEO of ThoughtExchange, Dave MacLeod, presented information about the results of the community exchange to the School Committee as well, and you can view the video of that specific portion of the presentation here.  

Mr. Bazydlo and I expressed our great appreciation to the members of the mascot study group for the substantial time and effort they gave to their work.  This group of SHS students, parents, faculty, and alumni served as a model for our community for how to study and debate a controversial issue that elicits strong emotion in a highly respectful and thoughtful way.

The School Committee is now receiving feedback from the community regarding the study group's recommended options.  The School Committee Chair, Mr. Jon Wensky, announced last evening that there are two ways to provide feedback to the School Committee:

1) You may provide verbal comments up to three minutes in length to the School Committee at the public hearing they are holding as part of their meeting next Wednesday night, June 16.  This will be an in-person public hearing held in the Selectmen's Room at Town Hall (100 Maple Ave.).   Mr. Wensky asks that you send an email to him at jonwensky@shrewsbury.k12.ma.us  in advance if you wish to address the School Committee in person at this public forum.

2) You may send an email to all School Committee members at schoolcommittee@shrewsbury.k12.ma.us.  For consideration, emails must be signed with the name and address of the sender.  It is very important to note that correspondence sent to the School Committee on this topic are considered public documents, so if you choose to communicate in writing please be advised that your message may be published publicly.

The School Committee will consider the report of the study group and feedback from the public forum and email correspondence as it determines whether and how to take any action on the matter of the SHS mascot at its meeting on June 23.  The School Committee members, Mr. Bazydlo, and I respectfully ask that everyone in the community follow the lead of the study group and communicate in a constructive and respectful manner, whether through these avenues or on social media, as we requested last fall.  Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,

Joe Sawyer
Superintendent of Schools 

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