What to Know
- The Neshaminy School District is allowed to continue to use the word "Redskins" for its decades-old mascot, under a new ruling.
- The ruling from the PHRC also ordered the district to stop the use of any logos and imagery that “negatively stereotype Native Americans."
- The ruling comes after years of debate regarding the school district’s use of the word.
A Pennsylvania school district may continue to call its sports teams “Redskins” but must also “cease and desist” the use of any logos and imagery that “negatively stereotype Native Americans,” under an order from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC).
The decision was made during a vote on Monday from the PHRC on the Neshaminy School District’s use of the word “Redskins” for its decades-old mascot.
“The use of the term Redskins shall be permitted so long as the requisite educational information is provided to District students to ensure that students do not form the idea that it is acceptable to stereotype any group,” a spokesperson for the PHRC wrote.
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A spokesperson for the Neshaminy School District responded to Monday's ruling.
“The District’s legal counsel is reviewing the information from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission that was released today and will advise the Neshaminy School Board regarding this matter,” the spokesperson wrote. “We have no additional comment at this time.”
The ruling comes after years of debate regarding the school district’s use of the word. In 2013, a complaint was made which led to the PHRC filing its own charge accusing Neshaminy of violating a state human-relations law.
The commission argued the Bucks County district wouldn’t use a nickname based on any other racial group, so it should not use the current “Redskins” nickname either. The district said students aren’t offended by the nickname and it has been in use for over 60 years.
In the fall of 2013, editors with Neshaminy High School's student newspaper vowed to not print the name "Redskins" because they found it outdated and offensive. The Neshaminy School Board then passed a policy barring the editors from banning the word from editorials while allowing them to keep it out of news articles.
The school board's policy as well as the suspension of the newspaper's adviser and editor prompted protests and support for the students from journalism groups across the country.