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Burbank Unified board member asks staff to look at logo change

Burbank Unified School District President Steve Ferguson during board meeting on Thursday, October 1
Burbank Unified board member Steve Ferguson asked Supt. Matt Hill during the board’s last regular meeting to begin a process that may lead to changes to the district’s current logo.
(Tim Berger / Burbank Leader)

In a year of approval for a controversial school name change and formal recognition of pride month for the LGBTQ community in Burbank Unified, district staff may also be considering a visual revision regarding the district’s logo.

Burbank Unified board member Steve Ferguson asked Supt. Matt Hill during the board’s last regular meeting on May 16 to begin a process that may lead to the termination of the use of the district’s emblem.

“Right now, our district’s logo features a man and a woman and a child figure,” Ferguson said. “Not all families look like that anymore. Sometimes there’s one parent, sometimes there’s two parents of the same sex and people identify differently.”

The current logo has the words “Burbank Unified School District” in an arch hovering over the three figures. Below the trio is the phrase “Equality and Excellence.”

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The logo is used in many ways, such as in board reports, schedules and various types of district paperwork.

“I know that this is a big financial ask, so I’m not asking for anything to get done immediately, but I do think we should prepare a plan to phase this logo out and put a logo that represents … all families that we serve, just not the cisgender heterosexual families who we all know and love,” Ferguson said.

Burbank school officials recently initiated a contest asking community members to create a new logo
Burbank school officials recently initiated a contest asking community members to create a new logo for the district.
(Courtesy of the Burbank Unified School District)

The discussion came shortly before board members voted 5-0 to adopt a resolution proclaiming June as the district’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer questioning pride month.

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“I am honored to work for a school board and district that is committed to ensuring we have policies, practices and curricula that respect and support LGBTQ students and their families throughout the school year,” Hill said.

A little more than a month ago, Ferguson was part of a unanimous board vote to drop the name of David Starr Jordan from a Burbank Unified middle school christened with his name in 1948.

While Jordan was a famed fish scientist and founding president of Stanford University, the school’s namesake was also a propagator of the theory of eugenics, a system of controlled breeding designed to root out undesirable human characteristics.

Ferguson, who spoke passionately about the need to change the Jordan name during a board meeting on April 18, said his resistance to the logo led him — a former school board president and a person believed to be city’s first openly gay male public official — to forego wearing a district lapel pin.

“Just as, for some, Jordan as a name was stirring and bothersome, I will say, as a board member, we receive lapel pins with this seal, and I can’t bring myself to wear one,” he said. “I’d like to change that one day. I love this [school district], and we should celebrate our diversity in more ways than one.”

No immediate plans were presented regarding the logo during the meeting.

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