At next Tuesday’s Gill-Montague Regional School Committee meeting, those who want to keep the Turners Falls High School “Indians” mascot will get their chance to make their opening arguments to the board. In an email to committee members and the media, School Committee Chairman Michael Langknecht said he would like to allow public comments at the meeting, giving both sides of the debate the same opportunity to address the board.
“My intent is to hold a normal meeting with the usual public participation at the start,” he wrote in the email. “Since one ‘side’ has spoken once, already, I feel the (keep the mascot) petition group should be given the same courtesy: 15 minutes, one to five speakers and hear what they’d like to tell us and acknowledge the others in attendance.”
Here’s an explanation of the evening’s expectations, from the Gill-Montague Regional School District Facebook Page:
The school committee has a TFHS mascot review process on its agenda for next Tuesday night but there will be no public forum at that time as no process, nor even the decision to engage in one, has yet to be adopted. If the district goes down this road we will follow a process that makes ample time and opportunity for the full range of perspectives to be heard. Judging from the level of social media activity already occurring it is clear that this topic brings many social, historical, and cultural issues to the surface that deserve fuller consideration than can be achieved through social media. I would like to ask those who hold strong opinions on this issue to act with civility and I would like to encourage those who are asking questions and trying to understand others’ perspectives to continue to model this for us all.
Please respect this request for decorum. And sign the petition for change here.