LAWRENCE, Kansas (KCTV/KSMO) — In the midst of the Chiefs’ second straight trip to the Super Bowl, a Lawrence school official sent a slideshow to district employees advocating for the Chiefs to change their name and Native American imagery.
The email and slideshow, sent out on Tuesday, urged district personnel to think about the potential impact on minority communities and different cultures at a time when many schools are carrying out a “Spirit Week” in celebration of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl appearance.
The slideshow, titled, “Super Bowl Celebrations and Spirit Days!!! No harm done, right?,” starts out with a Chiefs Arrowhead logo with the word “NOPE” over the top of the image. It also features a slide calling on sports teams to “eliminate all native mascots,” including the Chiefs’ name.
The same slide lists “Things I love about Kansas City” and includes BBQ, fountains, tailgating and the pro sports teams, with “The Racist Tomahawk Chop” crossed out at the bottom of the list.
The presentation includes slides guiding district employees on ways to “apply the culturally sustainable research criteria”. Those include empowering students to consider other perspectives and points of view, valuing multiple identifies and cultural differences, and exploring social inequity issues.
The email and slideshow was sent by Danica Moore, the Lawrence School District’s district equity facilitator and equity curriculum coach. She stated in her email, “The purpose is to address Super Bowl Spirit Day celebration processed through (culturally sustainable resource criteria), provide historical context, and advise on how to move towards authentic celebrations of PEOPLE vs. events while creating space for students to pursue social improvement.”
The slideshow highlights the example of “Tyreek Tuesday” as part of Chiefs Spirit Week. The entry for that day encourages students to wear Cheetah-related attire, Tyreek Hill’s number 10, or wear shoes that make you run fast. (Tyreek Hill’s nickname is “the Cheetah” because of his speed on the field.)
A following slide points out the hurtful history of minorities being associated with animals.
KCTV5 reached out to the school district on Wednesday. They declined to go on camera, but did release a statement that reads:
Lawrence Public Schools is excited for Kansas City’s continued success in returning to the Super Bowl. We know that our students are also excited, and our schools are eager to seek ways to tie that into learning opportunities.
As part of our district’s ongoing commitment to equity, we provide our staff guidance and support for planning culturally sensitive lessons and activities that honor and engage all students. We have developed tools that we use to help our staff reflect on best teaching practices and center culturally sustainable learning for students.
This is what our schools do–provide culturally relevant learning experiences for students, bring awareness to issues of cultural appropriation, and honr the racially diverse voices and experiences of our school community.
We hope to celebrate another Super Bowl victory with Kansas City on Sunday!
The district’s statement did not have a name or signature attached to it.
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