The Carpinteria School Board was the locus of roiling controversy earlier this year over Carpinteria High School’s Warrior mascot-a headdressed Native American. The board’s decision to discontinue the imagery prompted protests and a recall campaign against Beverly Grant, one of the three boardmembers who supported the ban. The petitioner signature drive fell short, but an organizer said its supporters still represent a formidable voting bloc. Only one of the three Carpinteria School Board candidates-retired Cottage Hospital chemist Royce Stauffer-supports the ban on the Indian mascot imagery. Stauffer, however, has also characterized the issue as an unfortunate distraction from more pressing matters like exit exams and college entrance exams. He also opposes the moving and rebuilding of the 60-student elementary school in Summerland. The other two candididates are Lou Panizzon, Carpinteria High School alum and its former principal, and incumbent boardmember Terrylou Hickey Banks. Both have criticized the process by which the board decided to ban the Warrior imagery. Banks said that it was not the decision’s substance, necessarily, but its sudden and arbitrary nature that she objected to. (As of press time, Banks had not responded to emailed inquiries.) Panizzon said voters can count on him to support higher teacher salaries and to make decisions in a measured and democratic way. He said he would withhold judgment on the Summerland campus until a study committee makes its report and the staff, board, and community have discussed it.
This Mural outside the Carpinteria High School auditorium is one of the controversial icons on campus