Shawnee Mission North changes mascot to Bison

The Associated Press

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – A Kansas City-area high school has announced its new mascot: the Bison.

The decision came this week after school officials moved earlier this year to drop culturally and racially insensitive mascots, including Shawnee Mission North High School's Indians mascot.

Students, administrators and staff spent months deciding on a new mascot, putting the final decision to a vote. But school officials said it will be a while before the Bison decorates the high school's halls, with the change requiring new signs, uniforms and branding. The school expects the new mascot to be fully implemented by next summer.

In January, the board of the Shawnee Mission district, which is the state's third-largest with about 27,000 students, passed a measure  requiring mascots to be culturally and racially sensitive and appropriate. The board then decided that the mascots that used Native American imagery at Shawnee Mission North High School and Belinder, Shawanoe, Ruston elementary schools violated the new policy and needed to be replaced. 

Calls for such changes have grown more insistent across the country in recent years. And thousands signed an online petition last year urging the district to drop the Indian mascot.