PR Firm Helps Mass. Schools Rebrand Mascots Seen As Insensitive

WEST NEWBURY, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — School committees across the country, and some right here in Massachusetts have either changed mascots, or are looking to do so, because their mascots are viewed as insensitive or racist.

"We've done away with black face, why do we have red face," said Professor Joyce Rain Anderson at Bridgewater State University.

Anderson said schools need to respect the almost 600 tribes in this country, by doing away with all Native imagery.

Assistant School Principal Dan Thorton said he knows what a tall task rebranding is, with all the signage his school Pentucket had. He said the signage was everywhere from the gymnasium to the school's weight room.

Pentucket did away with the Sachem nickname last fall, and other schools in similar situations are taking a financial hit to rebrand their identities, as well.

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For some schools, changing their mascot can come with a price tag of up to $25,000.

Jake Messier with PR firm HEARD Strategy and Storytelling stepped up to help. Their company offered to rebrand any school in the state with no cost to them.

Messier said they're doing the right thing by helping the schools. Four schools have taken HEARD up on the offer and Messier said he was moved by a letter he received from a student at one of those schools.

"She's not Native American, but she goes it means something to me and every kid of color because what we're seeing is representative of all of us," said Messier.

Messier added he couldn't help but get teary-eyed by the letter.

Anderson said this rebranding is the right thing to do.

WBZ NewsRadio's Drew Moholland (@DrewWBZ) Reports

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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