Policies and decisions about public school mascots, logos, and team names are determined at the local school district or building level.
The State Board of Education has twice adopted resolutions related to Native American school mascots. A 2012 resolution encouraged school districts to review policies related to the use of Native American mascots or other symbols that may have an adverse affect on students. A 1993 resolution asked all school districts to review building names, mascots, logos, activities, events, portrayal of caricatures, and behaviors to ensure that the references and activities were free from bias and derogatory connotations or effects associated with race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and disability.
There are 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington. Tribes are recognized by federal law as sovereign governments with inherent powers of self-governance, including the power to regulate within tribal territory, and certain immunities from state authority.
Unless specified requirements are met, beginning January 1, 2022, public schools may not use Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots, logos, or team names.
The prohibition does not apply to public schools located within, or with enrollment boundaries that include a portion of, "Indian country," as the term is defined in federal law, or public schools in a county that contains all or part of a tribal reservation or tribal trust lands, if the tribe or tribes having regulatory jurisdiction over the territory within that boundary have:
Additionally, a public school that does not meet the geographic requirements for a potential exemption to the prohibition may be exempted from the prohibition if:
A public school may use uniforms or other materials after January 1, 2022, bearing Native American names, symbols, or images as mascots, logos, or team names if the uniforms or materials were purchased before January 1, 2022. Additionally, the school:
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction must create and administer a grant program to provide transitional support grants to school districts for schools that incur costs resulting from discontinuing the use of Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots, logos, or team names. The grant program expires August 31, 2023.
The grant funds may be used for the replacement or redesign of items and materials that display Native American names, symbols, or images, including: uniforms and equipment used by a team, band, cheer squad, or other extracurricular activity; school signage and floor designs ; school letterhead and office supplies; and school web pages.
July 25, 2021