May 24, 2024

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Mascot issue taken to Hancock school board | News, Sports, Jobs


KEFFER — Weir High graduate Mike Keffer appeared before the Hancock County Board of Education Monday, asking the board members to sign a pledge agreeing to “stop political correctness in Weirton,” and “save Native American mascots.”
— Craig Howell

NEW CUMBERLAND — Concerns over the future of an unofficial logo for Weir High School were taken straight to the Hancock County Board of Education Monday.

The issue began earlier this month, when it was announced Weir High officials were beginning the process of removing an unofficial, cartoonish logo depicting a red Native American, with a “W” written on its chest from the school as well as its clubs and athletics teams.

Mike Keffer, a local businessman and Weir High graduate, addressed the board Monday, concerning the logo and other aspects connected to the school’s mascot and nickname, and presenting members with a pledge to “stop political correctness in Weirton,” and “save Native American mascots.”

“We are trying to support the Native American mascot and preserve it as well,” Keffer said, noting specifically he was not referring to the cartoon mascot, but to depictions such as those featured on signage outside of Weir High School.

Keffer, who had organized a rally outside of the Millsop Community Center last week, said he was concerned about the other, more realistic, logo and the name “Red Riders.”

“I don’t want that to be the next item to be axed,” he said, asking the school board members to sign the pledge.

Board of Education President Danny Kaser noting the board has never taken any official action on the removal of any logo for Weir High, said he feels it would be premature for the board to sign any pledge without getting additional information on the issue.

“We were as surprised as you all were,” Kaser said, later adding if the board were to sign the pledge it could create legal issues for members.

Board members Michelle Chappell and Larry Shaw both explained they had not attended Weir High, and would need to know more about the logo.

“It’s not something I’m familiar with,” Chappell said.

Board member Chris Gillette noted he is working to research the lineage of the school’s various logos, and has been reaching out to local historians.

“I’m trying to find out the origin,” Gillette said. “You hear different stories.”

Board member Toni Hinerman did not respond to Keffer during the meeting, but was seen signing the pledge.

Keffer was the only resident to address the board, Monday, although he was accompanied by three youths, each wearing T-shirts featuring the cartoon logo in question. Keffer showed the board an online petition, with 2,259 signatures. He noted there had been more than 22,000 views to the petition.

Keffer noted that while the logo may be unofficial, it is included on equipment, athletic uniforms and merchandise.

(Howell can be contacted at [email protected], and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)



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