PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Algood Elementary School and Algood Middle School each have mascots that not everyone is a fan of.
“All these terms and these mascots have got to go,” said Sayota Knight. “It has to go.”
The mascots that Knight wants gone are the Redskins and Braves.
“There’s no proudness or pride, if you call it that, in being mocked or being dressed up or being imitated as this caricature,” he said.
Knight is a Chiricahua Apache Native American who fought for the removal of the middle school mascot last year.
“The Putnam County School Board has tried to manipulate it and twist it and say that they are trying to honor us and there’s no honor in that,” he said. “Once you know the history and once you know the facts, you can’t turn back from it. You can’t turn around from that.”
Putnam County Schools voted to keep the mascots last year.
Knight decided it was time to revisit this issue again after he claims numerous people from the community have harassed and assaulted him and his family.
“We’ve had people drive by our house, (and) throw rocks at our house,” he said. “Throw rancid meat in our yard or put garbage in our mailbox.”
But when he reached out to the district requesting to speak at the November 3rd school board meeting, he was told he wasn’t allowed.
“‘Cause I spoke back in October, I can’t speak on this issue ever again,” he said.
The guidelines the school board forwarded to Knight stated underneath signing up to address the board that speakers may not speak more than once on a specific topic.
Despite this, Knight says it won’t stop him from fighting this issue he believes he will win.
“I’m not going to give up,” he said. “I’ll continue on to get this mascot changed.”
News 2 did reach out to the Putnam County School Board to clarify the guideline they told Knight about not speaking again on this issue, but we have yet to hear back.