Community Advisory Committee to review the "Dutch" mascot

Holland Public Schools has always been proud to be a part of this city and celebrate the rich history of our community and the influence of the Netherlands, Dutch immigrants, traditions, and culture.

Over the last two years, members of the HPS School Board have adopted a set of core values that include Inclusion and Equity.  This means:

  • We believe it is our collective responsibility to foster respect, a sense of belonging, and success that honors each individual.
  • We ensure that our policies, practices, and programs serve our growing and evolving community.

Recently, members of the HPS Equity Alliance reported to members of the board that some of the traditions we celebrate in the district may be falling short of these core values. Because a growing number of our students and families no longer identify as Dutch, the use of the The Dutch mascot does not invite a sense of belonging for many of our students and their families.

Additionally, HPS is among very few districts in the state whose mascot represents an ethnic group.  While we are proud of the community's Dutch heritage and our study and participation in local traditions, a mascot may not be the best expression of this pride based upon a singular ethnic group. Currently, our school community reflects students and families from over thirty-five different countries, representing a fabric of different ethnicities and culture. The changing community demographic creates a contrast with the traditional mascot, and as circumstances and attitudes change, should the symbol used to represent the school district as a whole change? Who does our mascot intentionally or unintentionally include or exclude?

Board of Education members present at the October 5, 2020 work session unanimously voted to create, and directed the superintendent to form, an advisory committee of interested and open-minded community members to participate in an ongoing conversation concerning the use of The Dutch as the district's mascot.

We recognize the sensitive nature of this conversation; some may be offended by the consideration of dropping the Dutch mascot and view this as a harmful process or a matter of disrespect and wonder why a change is needed. We want to hear these voices.

If you are interested in participating, please fill out the following form for consideration by October 30, 2020. The formation of the committee will be one that best balances the interests and representation across the HPS school community. Thank you for your consideration and potential interest.

Thank you,
Brian Davis
Superintendent, Holland Public School