School Mascots the cause of school shootings

Every school has a mascot, some better than others.  In 2018, I visited approximately 2000 different schools.  While the city and the district changed, many mascots remained a constant.  Spartans, indians, eagles, knights, pumas, and as you guessed copies of MLB and NFL logos.  A little creativity could go a long way here.

At any rate, during my work at many schools, I started to notice the number of mascots which contained weapons in their logos.  Weapons in the form of swords, spears, daggars, and sometimes even rifles and handguns.  This got me wondering – what message are these mascots sending psychologically speaking?  What image do they portray to the students and community?

What do we know about the effects of images on children

The real question that we have to ask is how are these mascot images affecting the student body that seems them on a daily basis?  This question boils down to one of violence?  Are simple images of weapons or images of soldiers holding weapons a display of violence?  And to arrive at the answer we have to know how to define violence.

Webster defines violence as

vi· o· lence | \ ˈvī-lən(t)s  ˈvī-ə-\

Definition of violence

1athe use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy
ban instance of violent treatment or procedure
2injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation OUTRAGE
3aintense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or forcethe violence of the storm
bvehement feeling or expression FERVORalso an instance of such action or feeling
ca clashing or jarring quality DISCORDANCE
4undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)


Pyschology Today states

  1. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of exposure to violence in the home, the community, and the media. Effects include reduced sensitivity toward others, being more fearful, and behaving more aggressively. In a recent study, adolescents who had high exposure to violence in the media and video games, besides behaving more aggressively, also showed reduced levels of cognitive brain function, meaning that the parts of the brains involved in thinking, learning, reasoning, and emotional control were less active than in adolescents who had lower exposure to violence. Children also tend to exhibit long term effects into adulthood, with highly aggressive children more likely to become violent criminals.


Ultimately, I don’t believe that mascots are contributing to mass shootings; however, there is little doubt that weaponized mascots instill a sense of fight, protection and honor.  Anyone that has followed our work here, knows that we don’t avoid risks, we manage them.  That means we believe that students should be taught how to properly respect and utilize weapons just as they would other tools.  So, while we believe in freedom and the right to defend ourselves and teach solid risk management, if you are starting a new school or redesigning your mascot, you may want to consider leaving the depiction of weapons out of the image.  Just a thought!

Mascots of schools where shootings have occurred


Other school mascots

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