Michigan school district votes to drop Redskins nickname

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
03/17/2020 01:00 PM
PAW PAW, Mich. (AP) — A school district in southwestern Michigan is dropping its Redskins nickname and mascot after the superintendent urged school board members to end the contentious name.

The Paw Paw school board recently voted 6-1 to retire the Redskins nickname by the end of the school year following Superintendent Rick Reo's recommendation last week to drop the nickname.

“There’s division across all groups, but the group that I’m most concerned about is the group that this board employs me to be the most concerned about — and that is the students,” Reo said during Monday night’s meeting. “Our kids and their education must come first.”

Reo said last week that he believes the district originally chose Redskins to "celebrate the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans." But times have changed, he said, even if the intent has not.

The American Civil Liberties Union last year asked the U.S. Education Department to investigate a “racially hostile environment” for Native American students at Paw Paw's high school.

The board’s decision to drop the Redskins comes after it voted 4-3 in 2017 to keep the controversial name after months of heated debate.

Reo has recommended that a steering committee comprised of students be formed to begin the process of selecting a new nickname, which should be selected by July.

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