Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau School District’s Mascot Review Board voted 5 to 4 Saturday not to move forward with the Thunder Bears as the mascot’s name for the combined high school football team.
The board, comprised of members from the three high schools, elected to send the matter back to committee.
High school students voted for Thunder Bears over two other choices.
It became controversial when a definition of the name was found on the Urban Dictionary that is disparaging of native Americans.
School Board Vice President Josh Keaton called it an unfortunate situation while a guest on Action Line today (Monday). He added that the Urban Dictionary is not a proper source. "That's what it boils down to. Unfortunately, I think this is a learning lesson for students to take because you've taken a name that was slang. Nobody knew it. I didn't know it. You've given that name power and we'll be dealing with this as a racist term from now into the future."
Its still possible the Thunder Bears name could be considered again, according to Keaton. He can't predict what will come out of the committee process at this point but adds there might be another vote for Thunder Bears again.
In a vote by students, the Thunder Bears name was selected over Orcas Capital City Senators. The words Orca and Senator also earned derisive definitions in the Urban Dictionary.
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