Archive for Saturday, August 18, 2001

Dodge will keep demon mascot

August 18, 2001

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— The devil, for one, won't have to get out of Dodge.

On a 7-0 vote Thursday, the Dodge City School Board decided to keep the Red Demon as the school mascot. The decision came after more than an hour of public comment on both sides of the issue.

People who wanted a change, a few of them carrying Bibles, said the demon presents a negative image for the school. Tara White, student body president at Dodge City High School, said students wanted to keep the devil mascot.

"It has brought pride to this school," she said.

The motion to retain the mascot, made by board vice president R. C. Trotter, said the Red Demon "does not negatively impact student performance or conduct" and that changing it "would create a distraction within the student body."

Those who opposed the Red Demon mentioned spiritual implications, saying the mascot is offensive to Christians who believe demons are real and evil.

Rick Sloan said that because the community is divided on the issue, it's time to compromise with a neutral mascot. Sloan said the community pulled together to build the new high school, but the demon mascot has divided Dodge City since its conception.

Artist Dennis Burkhart described the Red Demon as ugly and said he rejoiced when the mascot was removed from the city water tower.

"It represents the very darkness that educators are supposed to lead the children away from," he said.

Jana Ross said Jesus Christ promoted tolerance and called on those who dislike the demon mascot to be tolerant.

"Some Christians believe in verbal harassment in the name of God," she said.

Claudia Bunyan noted that other schools are dropping mascots that offend groups such as American Indians.

"Well, I'm offended by the demon mascot," Bunyan said, "but because we're Christians, we get stepped on."

Vicki Austin said parents and grandparents already had spent a lot of money on uniforms and other Red Demon items for students.

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