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Paw Paw school board votes to drop Redskins mascot

Posted at 10:24 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 22:26:29-04

PAW PAW, Mich. — Paw Paw’s board of education voted to retire the use of its Redskins mascot Monday night.

The change will take effect at the end of this school year. Superintendent Rick Reo brought the recommendation to the board.

Reo said the nickname is an obstacle to welcoming all students.

“I believe that this decision will better enable us to carry out our mission as a school district,” Reo said in a release. “Individuals on both sides of this issue agree that it has people in the community divided, and we must come together in our support for all students to be able to best meet our goals.

“I hope that the retirement of the Redskin nickname will help us become a more unified school district as we continue to develop, support, challenge, and inspire every child for lifelong success.”

A community forum was held last week allowing students, staff, residents and alumni to voice their opinion on the change.

In the end, the board decided to go through with finding a new mascot.

“As school board members we have the honor of serving a wonderful and kind community who want the best for our kids,” board of education President Brent McNitt said. “Community members have a great deal of tradition and pride in our school. It has become clear that the controversy surrounding the Redskin name and imagery is an impediment to achieving our district goals.

“The best path is to respectfully retire the Redskin name and imagery with honor. Only then can we continue to advance toward a bright future while always celebrating our proud past.”

The process to select a new school mascot will start in the coming days and include meetings with student groups and the formation of a committee. School officials expect a recommendation prior to the school board’s July meeting.