Neshaminy School District can keep 'Redskins' name, but some changes may be in order

Jim Melwert
November 25, 2019 - 6:02 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is allowing Neshaminy School District to continue to use the term “Redskins,” but it comes with some strings attached. 

The commission is ordering Neshaminy High School to stop using any logos or imagery that “negatively stereotype Native Americans” but it is allowing them to continue to use the term "Redskins."

The 62-page decision says there are those who believe the term is always a racial slur, but others who argue, depending on context, the term could be positive.

Based on that, it says it’s allowing Neshaminy to use "Redskins," but they have to teach both the negative attributes associated with the term as well as the positive reasons to keep it.

The hope, according to the opinion, is that lesson can teach students there is a differences among Native Americans regarding the term "Redskins" and that it is never OK to stereotype.

And it says, if the commission immediately told the school to stop using it, there could be a backlash as people resisted change, and that would essentially reinforce stereotyping.

One of the keys to that education it says is teaching there were hundreds of tribes on the continent, and many of them had their own identities and traditions and it wasn’t just one big group of Native Americans.

For that reason, the order says the statue of the member of the Lenape tribe at Neshaminy High School can stay because it’s representative of a regional native American tribe member.

But the district is being ordered to review each logo and imagery to determine if it depicts a negative stereotype.

This started when a parent of a Native American student filed a complaint in 2013. That complaint was withdrawn in 2015, but commission went ahead with it on their own.

A district spokesman says legal counsel is reviewing the order and there is no further comment at this time.