ROCKTON, Illinois-- A high school in Rockton, Illinois is at a crossroads about whether to change its mascot.
Several students at Hononegah High School started a petition called 'Remove the Hononegah High School Mascot' to get rid of their Native American mascot.
"Despite the recent demands of hundreds of Native tribes across the nation to remove dehumanizing Native mascots from sports and schools, Hononegah continues to use the image a Native man to represent our school under the banner of the 'Hononegah Indians'," the petition reads.
Within a few hours, other students started their own petition to keep the mascot which has nearly 13,000 signatures.
"The Indian mascot is not a misrepresentation of their people and their culture. It’s more of an homage to the colorful history of this town we live in and deserves to be kept that way," the petition titled 'Keep the Indian' says. "Any other interpretation of the Indian mascot is misconceived."
The controversy has led to debates at school board meetings with one side arguing the mascot is offensive and outdated and the other calling it important representation and a key part of history.
The school board says a formal request to review the mascot has not yet been given.
According to the Rockford Register Star, this is the first time the debate to remove the mascot has been raised in the city.