NJ school district should drop ‘Indians’ mascot, petition says
WAYNE — A North Jersey school district has been thrust into the spotlight for continued use of an "Indians" mascot, which an online petition calls an "abysmal misrepresentation of Native Americans."
"If the Wayne Valley administration truly wants to eliminate racism, then they need to address their mascot," the petition reads, urging district schools to drop “Indian” as the Wayne Valley mascot.
The petition was created by Amanda Kiel, who also is listed as a News Editor at the Wayne Valley High School newspaper.
Kiel referenced the school's paper in her petition, as she said "The Wayne Valley population does not call themselves Indians out of respect for Native Americans. If we did, then our snack stand by the football field would not be called 'The Teepee' and our school newspaper would not be called Smoke Signals."
There were two dozen NJ schools using Native American inspired mascots, logos or team names as of 2018, according to analysis by MyCentralJersey.com.
That same year, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School opted to keep its "Raiders" team name while changing its mascot to a knight after a similar online petition drew support, as reported by NJ.com.
Among those still in use are the Toms River South Indians and Newark East Side Red Raiders.
In Monmouth County, Howell High School has dealt with pressure this month — also rooted in an online petition — to get rid of all traces of its Confederate-inspired mascot and "Rebels" team name.
The school is part of the Freehold Regional School District.
A statement from Howell High School administrators said the team name will stay the same, but students are being given a chance to help design a new mascot image, in a contest accepting submissions until June 25.
The same statement noted that the former mascot, a cartoonish Confederate soldier, has been removed from team uniforms and the school's updated turf field and basketball court, replaced in recent years with an "H."
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