Coweta Schools Issues Apology For 'Scalp The Indians' Float

Dee Duren, News on 6

Coweta Public Schools sent a letter of apology to students and parents following a homecoming float created for their upcoming game against Catoosa.

The decoration turned into a racial sensitivity lesson for Coweta students.

Photos of the float sent to News On 6 show what appears to be a covered wagon containing a dummy with long black hair and a headdress and the words, "Scalp the Indians," referring to the Catoosa mascot.

In Catoosa, images of Indians are everywhere - the school mascot is on every building. But the vision of Indians as the mascot is far different than the one on a decoration for the Coweta High School homecoming, showing a dead Indian in the back, the float has "Scalp the Indians" on the side.

Coweta Superintendent Jeff Holmes - a Native American - said he was personally offended.

"It's wrong. Doesn't matter what my heritage is, it's still wrong for our students," he said.

The superintendent said the high school principal talked with the students involved and he believed the incident would start a new conversation about racial sensitivity in a school that is 27 percent Native American.

Holmes said, “It's not acceptable to be derogatory in any context, whether or not someone thinks they're having fun - it's not funny."

In Catoosa, the students were out Friday - another school down to four days a week of classes - but the reaction on whether the float was offensive was mixed.

"It's kids being kids," one woman said.

Ansleigh Dobbs said, "It's something that should have never been able to be seen, where nobody could take a picture, immediately take it down.”

In Coweta, parent Katrina Jacuk said a school-wide conversation about race is long overdue.

"There needs to be assemblies and training on multi-culturalism; and first with the staff, and then the students because this is from the top down," she said.

The superintendent said students were told to be on their best behavior for the game.