LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – The debate surrounding a school nickname will take center stage Tuesday night in Lancaster. The school board is holding a public forum on the Lancaster School District mascot the Redskins.
The debate about the term Redskin was brought up after the school district received numerous letters urging them to drop the name. The district has been reviewing the issue for more than a year and still has not decided whether or not to change it.
Those opposed to the term believe it is disrespectful or racist. News 4 spoke with a Native American student at Lancaster who says the term is derogatory.
Supporters of keeping the name will hold a rally before the hearing. Rally organizers are flying in two speakers from Connecticut and South Dakota to speak in favor of keeping the name. One organizer told News 4 those speakers reached out to her after hearing the story.
Sign in and table registration for the meeting are between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Review the ground rules below:
- Stay on task; no side conversations
- Listen actively — respect others when they are talking; don’t interrupt
- Patiently absorb what others are saying
- Accept the fact that there will be differences of opinion
- Show mutual respect; check egos at the door
- Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing (use “I” instead of
“they,” “we,” and “you”)
- Instead of invalidating somebody else’s story with your perception of his or
her experience, share your own story and experience
- Do not be afraid to respectfully challenge or disagree with one another by
asking questions, but refrain from personal attacks — focus on ideas
- Be additive; not repetitive
- No strong language
- The goal is not to agree–it is to gain a deeper understanding of one another
and to inform the board’s ongoing education
- We agree that anyone in blatant violation of the ground rules can be asked
to be excused at any time
Right now a petition titled “Keep the Redskin Tradition Alive” is circulating throughout the district. At the bottom it reads “For decades Lancaster has been known as the Lancaster Redskins. Well someone who wants to be politically correct took it too far. This is a mascot of pride, courage, and strength. Keep the tradition alive! Once a Redskin, Always a Redskin!”
The rally is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday before the hearing at Lancaster High School.