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DN still in search of a Warrior symbol

These are among the possible Warrior mascot icons that Del Norte High School principal Coleen Parker presented to the School Board on Thursday night.
These are among the possible Warrior mascot icons that Del Norte High School principal Coleen Parker presented to the School Board on Thursday night. Courtesy of Del Norte Unified School District
Del Norte High School Principal Coleen Parker went before the School Board with eight proposed mascot icons Thursday, but her plans to post the designs online for the community’s input were put on hold.

The options include a Spartan/Trojan with a sword, three versions of a knight with a sword, three versions of a Viking and a flaming W. Parker said she had planned to post the icon ideas on the school’s website Friday, where the public would be able to vote and provide comments.

“The kids definitely want to stay the Warriors,” she said. “And they don’t want an animal mascot.”

But School Board member Jennifer England questioned the depictions of weapons, and Superintendent Don Olson said there is a policy against weapons as part of school mascots.

Board member Lori Cowan pointed out that the Board set a deadline of the end of the first school semester for the high school students to recommend a mascot icon. She said it should ultimately be the students’ choice.

“We need to put an end to this,” Cowan said, referring to the controversy the mascot issue has recently stirred up. “It’s been 15 years. I don’t feel we’re putting an end to it. I feel like we’re opening it up again.”

Del Norte High School has been without a mascot icon since June 1998, when officials decided to keep the Warrior name but drop the Indian head logo that depicted a chief with full headdress.

The issue returned to the spotlight last summer when a parent complained about equipment bags Del Norte Youth Football issued to its players. The bags depicted an Indian brave icon in blue and gold contrast. 

Youth football representatives reclaimed the bags following the complaint. A private citizen then purchased the bags and gave them back to the players.

When the latest controversy was brought before the School Board in September, youth football representatives were initially in favor of bringing back the Warrior head. But after district officials stated that wouldn’t happen due to a policy against symbols that could be perceived as racially derogatory, football representatives asked for adequate community input on choosing a new icon.

Later that month, the high school Student Senate began a survey to find out what students wanted. 

On Thursday, youth football representatives said they were under the impression that the students had chosen an icon, a warrior’s helmet, which was not among those Parker had chosen. They added that they had seen the symbol depicted at a recent girls basketball game.

“Youth football is in total support,” they said.

In response to Cowan’s comments about the mascot icon ultimately being the students’ choice, math teacher Dave Boker pointed out that the mascot will only belong to a student for four years.

“It’s the community’s mascot for as long as they live here,” he said. “To think that it’s just the students’ choice is a very narrow way to look at that. (The mascot) represents the community, all employees and the students.”

District special needs instructor Amber Cron also asked Parker to make sure that the mascot icons people vote on be the actual ones that would be used to prevent disappointment.

Parker said she would keep those comments in mind, and include the warrior helmet, when she is ready to post the icon options online.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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