AMESBURY — Although its popularity has taken a hit, the Amesbury High School Indian remains a popular mascot.
The School Committee approved the formation of a mascot review committee in May after two high school seniors made the case that the school’s Indian mascot is based on a racial stereotype and should be phased out over a five-year period.
The committee created an online survey and gave students, parents, teachers and the general public a week to weigh in late last month.
Although the committee will have until Saturday to make its recommendation to the superintendent, The Daily News obtained a copy of the survey results, which counted 2,062 respondents.
Glen Gearin, the high school vice principal of students/activities, confirmed in an email that the survey results are accurate but added that the mascot review committee still needs to analyze the data before sending its full report to Superintendent Elizabeth McAndrews by Saturday.
There were 1,087 people who voted not to change the mascot, while 869 voted to make the change. Sixty-seven people said they were undecided and 39 voted that they did not care.
High school students were also quizzed about the mascot and 86 voted to keep the Indian while 82 voted to change it. Sixteen were undecided and 12 said they did not care.
Teachers also voted to keep the mascot in an 18-17 vote with one undecided.
Alumni voted decisively to keep the mascot, 630 to 249. Twenty alumni were undecided and eight said they did not care.
Changing the mascot was most popular with parents, 162 of whom voted to eliminate it while 116 voted to keep it. Fifteen were undecided and eight said they did not care.
Area residents who were not included in the student, teacher or parent groupings backed discontinuing the Indian mascot, with 328 votes in favor and 293 votes to keep the mascot. Thirteen were undecided and eight said they didn’t care.
Once the committee makes its recommendation to McAndrews, she will submit her own opinion to the School Committee, which would make the final decision.
The School Committee last visited the issue of changing the mascot in 2016 when an online Survey Monkey poll resulted in 1,689 votes in support of keeping the mascot and 495 voting against.
Exit polling conducted during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as at various Amesbury High sporting events, showed that 4,018 people voted to keep the Amesbury Indian while 912 voted to change it.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.