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 asvi· o· lence | \ ˈvī-lən(t)s , ˈvī-ə-\
Definition of violence
1a: the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroyb: an instance of violent treatment or procedure2: injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation : OUTRAGE
4: undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)
Pyschology Today states
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.
Mascots of schools where shootings have occurred
Other school mascots