A group of alumni and supporters of Conrad High School urged the Red Clay school board on Wednesday not to retire the school’s mascot, the Redskin, saying it was a proud, decades-old tradition that honored the spirit of Native Americans.
Never in the history of Conrad has there ever been intent to demean the name of Native Americans.
As Conrad Alumni Association President Jeff Nichols took the podium to address the board, dozens of members of the audience – most clad in red; some wearing old, worn letterman jackets with the mascot’s visage – stood in a show of support. They remained standing as eight speakers addressed the board.
Nichols took issue with the fact that some who want to change the mascot quote Webster’s dictionary, which says the term “Redskin” is “usually offensive.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, Conrad is not a usual school,” he said. “What Webster’s is missing is a definition of Conrad Redskin, a noun: a student, past, present and future of Conrad who emulates the positive traits of pride, spirit and honor.”
Spot on! Well said!
A group called the “Retire the Mascot Committee” has been gathering petition signatures to change the mascot and hopes to make a proposal for a replacement mascot to the district in the summer.
The group’s efforts come as other schools and athletic organizations, most notably the NFL’s Washington Redskins, have faced criticism for using the mascot.
School officials have said they have heard concerns from parents and others about the mascot. Some teams and other school organizations have quietly left the word “redskin” off of their gear.
And who might these ” Retire the Mascot Committee” be?
Several speakers said removing the mascot would disrupt a proud alumni tradition that has led to thousand-dollar donations and many hours of volunteering. A few blasted the district administration, saying it was trying to make the change without asking the school community shortly after Red Clay voters approved a referendum to raise property taxes to fund district operations.”This superintendent does not communicate with this community unless they need money,” said Susan Strawbridge. “How dare this superintendent keep the mascot issue under the radar until after the referendum.”
Folks all district superintendents serve at the pleasure of their boards! Red Clay’s board has the final vote!