The “Lancaster Redskins” are no more at a high school, feeling intense pressure to drop the racial name. According to the Associated Press, the upper New York school district will eliminate its Redskins mascot and nickname. This comes after a pressure cooker was turned up by other school districts threatening to boycott games over their nickname.
Officials of the Lancaster Central School Board voted to do away with the symbol Monday after a significant number of Native American students from three districts canceled lacrosse matches.
Native Americans consider “redksins,” a racist slur against them.
Superintendent, Michael Vallely, says that the Lancaster Redskins name was a “symbol of ethnic stereotyping” and continuing to keep the name might “subject students to retaliation.”
Strong supporters of the school’s nickname were seen wearing past and present Lancaster Redskins uniforms and jackets with the school’s traditional logo on them.
Emily Koeppel, a high school senior, said the name was never meant to offend anyone.
“All of these years we’ve never used it in a negative way. It was never meant to be hurtful.”
Several high schools and universities around the nation have given up the “redskins” name in the last few years. Native American organizations have started a “Change the Mascot” campaign in an effort to persuade the NFL to drop it from the Washington, D.C. team name.
One of the board members of the western New York school district — Kimberly Nowak — said this is the thing to do because they don’t have much of a choice when it comes to pride.
“There is no pride in having schools boycott playing our sports teams. There is no pride in winning by forfeit.”
Despite the Lancaster Redskins name change, many students refuse to give up their symbolic school attire.
“This is our school. We are Redskins,” says student, Torie Dombrowski.
The Redskins nickname was in the process of phasing out with recent orders of school uniforms omitting the mascot. The school’s leaderboard was also replaced without a Redskins mascot
With the latest board decision, the phasing out process escalated into full-on drop it all at once.
In 2005, the American Psychological Association cites negative effects “on the social identity development and self-esteem of American Indian young people.”
Board member, Michael Sage, adds, “The students in this generation and those to follow need a new tradition.”
MTV reports that students are being asked to come up with a new mascot to replace the Lancaster Redskins
[Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot]