Removal of iconic mural at West Montgomery causes outcry

Some West Montgomery High alumni and faculty are upset with changes to the school’s cafeteria.

130820_West_Montgomery_Logo_250Teachers, former students and others have taken to Facebook to air their opposition to the decision to paint over a large warrior head mural that had been on the cafeteria wall since the 1970s.  Many of those posting are calling for the mural to be restored, though a few say it shouldn’t matter.

Reports say a 9/11 memorial had also been on the wall.

Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Dale Ellis told WMTG the decision to repaint the cafeteria was made in an overall effort to raise what he called “one of the poorest breakfast and lunch participation rates in the county.”

“In discussions between the Child Nutrition Department and school leadership,” said Dr. Ellis, “it was felt that brightening up the cafeteria would make it more inviting for students. On any given day, you will find more students outside the cafeteria, rather than in it. The decision was made and plans developed.”

Ellis said the project – supported by child nutrition funds – was not complete when negative comments began appearing on social media.

“The work has not been finished, and we have unfortunately not been allowed to explain, but the work will heavily incorporate the (West Montgomery) spearhead logo, which is now on T-shirts… there is a spearhead in the courtyard, a spearhead painted on the football field, and a spearhead as you enter the football field. There is also a spearhead residing on the field house and they are everywhere.”

The superintendent said the school moved away from the old “chief” logo some time ago, and no negative feedback was received. Still, administrators will consider using part of the old design in the new decor.

“We are meeting later this week to discuss the inclusion of the older chief head logo in the cafeteria, even though it has not been an issue raised with the move to the spearhead logo until now.”

Responding to criticism about how the decision was made, Ellis said, “There is no policy that I am aware of that restricts our ability to paint or adequately maintain our facilities in a manner that we feel will provide greater benefit for the intended purpose of said facility – in this case, trying to make the cafeteria more inviting.”

“We are not trying to promote some agenda or to remove the Warrior from West Montgomery. We are trying to get students to use the cafeteria.”

Ellis said he had not previously heard about the removal of a 9/11 memorial, but he said both items will be discussed when administrators meet.


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