Last night, Teton Unified School District held a board meeting and listened to the public's concerns surrounding a mascot.

One attendee says, "And I am really tired of being called racist."

A second attendee says, "We're not over here calling you racists. We're just over here saying those things got to stop because it's messing us up."

In the Teton Valley the debate over the Teton High School mascot continues.

A woman from the audience says, "To be offended is a choice."

A Teton High student says, "So let's look at what a mascot is supposed to be. It's supposed to be a symbol that can unite us."

The school district met with the public to listen to its concerns. The meeting was moderated by two members of the Idaho School Board Association in order to keep it organized and civil.

The moderator says, "Thank you for your service to the board."

Every person who wanted to speak was given five minutes.

More than 50 people filled out the request to address the school board. After everybody has had the opportunity to give his or her opinion, the school board is going to meet within in itself to discuss the issue. The superintendent said there is no guarantee that a final decision will be made during this meeting.

After the school board listened to public comment for more than four hours, it was time to discuss the issue.

Board member Ben Kearsley says, "This is the first time we've sat as a board to discuss this issue."

The board was torn on whether or not it should vote on changing the high school mascot. Many members from the public reminded the board that it was tax payers who voted in favor of a recent bond that cost nearly $40 million.

A final decision could hurt the school.

Kearsley says, "With our teacher negotiations. Are we willing to risk all of that right now?"

The board discussed doing what is best financially and morally for the school. It was concerned about what the public would do in response to a vote it did not like.

Board member Jake Kunz says, "We can't punish our children financially. Either way. We can't do that. We want smaller classes."

Tax money is used to pay for more teachers in order to provide students with smaller class sizes. Something that could be in jeopardy if voters use the mascot as a bargaining chip.

Kunz says, "We can't penalize the students because I just think that's, I don't think that's the responsible way.

Emotions ran high at the meeting so the board decided it would be best to hold a vote on a different day.

The Teton School Board decided to hold another community meeting on July 16 to give the public another opportunity to voice it's concerns.

The school board has the option of voting on the issue at that meeting.


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