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February 28, 2013

In New York, other Redskins keeping nickname

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According to a search of MaxPreps, a website that posts high school sports schedules and results, there are at least 70 schools nationwide that still use Redskins as a mascot.

The issue has come up in other states with mixed results.

In Tulsa, at Union High School, a local push from Oklahoma Indian groups to change the school from Union Redskins began in 1999 and came to a vote by the school board in 2003. According to the Tulsa World, in November 2003, the board voted unanimously to keep the nickname.

The school continues to use the Redskin nickname and touts it on its website: “Say the word Redskin and you picture a group pulling together to create an everlasting bond. This group comes from all directions in the academic, athletic, extracurricular activity, and scholastic disciplines. Say the word Redskin and you picture a never-say-die warrior who was the first in all our history; a brave and sturdy chief who looks after what he has and is eager to take on and conquer what is in the future.”

Frontier Regional School in Deerfield, Mass. and Mountain Empire School in Pine Valley, Calif. are two schools that have given up Redskins as a nickname. In Deerfield, the change was fought bitterly. In Pine Valley, it has been less controversial.

In 1997, by a 5-4 vote, the Frontier school board voted to change the name to Redhawks, according to an article by The Associated Press. The issue continued to be fought for nearly two years after the initial vote. Angry residents sued to stop the change, but the lawsuit was dropped. Eventually, chairman of the schools Committee Karl Koenigsbauer resigned from the board, citing fatigue from the nickname battle.

Mountain Empire, in southern California, changed its nickname to Redhawks in 1998.

Seven years later, in a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune, then-Principal Jan Hagin said the change has been a good one.

“Given the context of the time, the time had come to consider it,” said Hagin, who was not principal during the change. “My understanding was this was an attempt by the school to be proactive rather than reacting to pressure.

“It is really now accepted,” Hagin said. “Traditions can be reborn, and you can definitely see that here.”

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