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Redmen, Redette nicknames to be focus of meeting

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Area Public Schools Board of Education will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Marquette Senior High School Little Theater, with the district’s nickname issue likely being a center of focus.

The public comment periods are expected to attract discussion on the issue regarding the discontinuation of the Redmen/Redette nicknames, which the Marquette Senior High School Nickname Research Committee recommended at the Dec. 16 board meeting.

According to the agenda, attendees must register their intention to participate in the public comments portion of the meeting upon arrival. Speakers are asked to express themselves in a civil manner, with “due respect for the dignity and privacy of others who may be affected by the public comments.”

No votes on the issue are scheduled for the meeting, which will serve as an organizational meeting to elect officers through January 2021 and other business.

MAPS issued a statement by Superintendent Bill Saunders on the issue.

“As we continue to receive opinions and comments regarding the nickname issue, we want to keep the heart of the issue at the forefront,” Saunders said. “We are an amazing school supported by an amazing community. We will continue the work to educate on the polarizing points by multiple communication mediums.”

Saunders added several considerations, which he noted he hadn’t had the opportunity to share.

“I am most appreciative of our entire community for their ongoing support of our students, staff and district,” he said. “It was never the intention of the board, staff or administration for the nickname issue to become so divisive. We were focused on improving the climate and culture for our students. We are seeking solutions to alleviate the stress and anxiety our students experience in what should be their most memorable years of school. We strive to provide the best possible academic environment for our students.

“MAPS students are successful because they work hard, have incredible family and faculty support, and because they grow up in a community that really cares about and supports them. We don’t want to lose support or have students feel the need to ‘choose sides.’ Community tensions will create student tensions, which will hinder student growth and collegial relationships in their high school years.

“At this time, the board has not made any decisions regarding the district nickname. There are many voices that have not been heard and each is important. Ideally, the intent is to seek solutions that improve the school climate and culture while keeping our community united behind a school system everyone can be proud to support.”

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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