OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A seventh grader in the Shawnee Mission School District is aiming for change in her future high school, a year after leaders approved to remove the Native American mascots of their schools.
Hocker Grove Middle School seventh grader Halley Vincent is no stranger to advocacy.
Last year, she headed a letter campaign which she says helped lead to the unanimous decision of the Shawnee Mission School board voting to remove any Native American mascots in their schools in January.
Vincent’s future high school, Shawnee Mission North, was one of them.
Fast forward a year later, and the pen and paper are out once again.
“They voted to make the change so they have made a commitment, “ she said. “I don’t see real progress.”
Vincent said after attending the school for a concert in December, she noticed Native American imagery remaining in the gym, and images on school walls. She said while she notices larger changes, like new uniforms, are being made, the smaller things also count—and after a year of waiting, she’s wondering what’s taking so long.
“It felt a little embarrassing to just stand in a place where it’s all over, those images are everywhere,” she said.
Vincent’s mother says as a Shawnee Mission North High School graduate, and the wife of a member of the Lakota tribe, she is proud to see her daughter working to make a change.
“I think for my daughter to be a future student of theirs, she’s going to be going to a school that reflects what she wants to see and what other students want to see, there is a lot of power in that.” Alisha Vincent said.
FOX4 reached out to the Shawnee Mission School District. They responded:
“The Principal of Shawnee Mission North would be glad to speak with the young lady about all of the hard work that the school has been engaged in to put the new Bison in place and to complete the transition from the previous logo. There are a lot of people working on this, following the previously agreed timeline to complete the work during the 2021-2022 school year. Their work is very much appreciated.”
Vincent submitted the letter Monday, saying the lack of changes is quote “simple” and “silly that no one has made them. Vincent said she is committed to making change happen faster, and the district should too.
“I keep trying again, and again. At the end of the day, this is something that has to happen at some point.”
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