Tara Hubler won Teacher of the Year from Pennsylvania’s School Press association but was suspended for two days from Neshaminy High School for supporting her students in their journalistic stand.
Hubler serves as journalism teacher and advisor at the Langhorne, Pennsylvania, school, and supported students who refused to print the name of the school’s mascot, the Redskins. The paper’s editor-in-chief, Gilliam McGoldrick, was also suspended after her staff argued that the name is racist and offensive.
Now, one year after the incident, the student newspaper is fighting the school’s decision in an escalating battle. The fight continues to gain attention, with an in-depth update from The Daily Dot this week.
Students originally took a stance against the name in an editorial last year.
“The ‘R-Word’ is at least awkward, at most a racist slur,” they wrote in an editorial, which has since been taken offline. “The Playwickian cannot publish it for these reasons. The change is not being encouraged for the sake of political correctness itself, but for the sake of being respectful and fair to an entire race.”
The editorial added that school officials were not fit to determine if others were offended by the word.
“Detractors will argue that the word is used with all due respect. But the offensiveness of a word cannot be judged by its intended meaning, but by how it is received,” read the editorial.
Tara Hubler’s suspension garnered national press, and a new fight between the newspaper and high school is again making headlines. As the newspaper made legal statement asserting its constitutional right to publish without censorship, the school is continuing in its own fight. Neshaminy High School has threatened to discipline any students who refuse to print the word and pulled an editorial about the issue. It also fined the newspaper $1,200 and frozen its social media accounts.
The controversy at Neshaminy High School reflects the growing national fight over the name Redskins. The NFL’s Washington Redskins have become a lightning rod for controversy. Many groups have spoken out against the nickname, and several newspapers and other media outlets have decided to no longer refer to the team by its nickname.