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Lansing school board reconsiders new mascot for J.W. Sexton High School

At a December 1 Lansing School District board meeting, the group voted 6-to-1 in favor of selecting the “J-Dubbs” as Sexton's new mascot over its original choice of “The Scorpions.”

The Lansing School District Board of Education has voted in favor of selecting the “J-Dubbs” as the new mascot for J.W. Sexton High School. That's after community members criticized the board’s original choice.

Sexton formerly used the “Big Reds” mascot, which included the use of Native American imagery. The school announced over the summer it would move away from the mascot.

At a Nov. 10 meeting, the board selected “The Scorpions'' as the school’s new mascot following a selection process that took student votes into consideration. But “the Scorpions” wasn’t the community's top choice. According to the results, the community chose the "J-Dubbs" as its first choice, with "The Scorpions" being the fifth most popular.

During the board's meeting on Dec. 1, Sexton Alum Kaitlyn Cornell was one of several community members who urged the board to reconsider their earlier vote.

"I don't want you to think that this is just a vocal minority. There are many more people and yes, including actual students who can't make these meetings, and are also feeling unheard," she said. "So it's not just the people in this room. The mascot issue is multifaceted."

Cornell went on to say that when the board approved "The Scorpions" as the new mascot it demonstrated their unwillingness to listen to the student community.

Near the end of the meeting, school board President Gabrielle Lawrence told the community she wanted to reconsider her earlier vote.

"I'm asking for everyone's grace and acceptance and forgiveness," she said.

The renaming to J-Dubbs passed 6-to-1 with vice president Rachel Willis Sexton casting the only vote against the new mascot.

"J-Dubbs is not my preferred choice, and we have an opportunity to express our vote," she said. "We're voting members and we are a body and what the body actually decides is what stands and so I support my colleagues."

Following the vote, Lansing activist Michael Lynn, Jr. applauded the decision. He had been critical of the board for not going with the students' top choice.

"I mean, that's a big deal and it took a lot, I know. And I know that it took a lot to even be pictured as the people who made a mistake and come forward. That's a tough spot to be in," he said during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The district hopes to have Sexton’s new branding and logo in place before the end of the school year.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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