Neshaminy Awaits Ruling on High School Mascot


Neshaminy High School Mascot

Sophie Laurence, Centurion Staff

Neshaminy School District
has been awaiting a ruling in the lawsuit of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) over the name of
Neshaminy High School
mascot, the Redskins.
The hearings took place at Bucks County Community College in Newtown in January, and the court is waiting to make its final decision, which should be announced in the coming weeks.
The controversy began in 2015, when Donna Fann-Boyle filed a complaint with the district because her son and the rest of their family felt offended by the Neshaminy mascot, the Redskins. Her family is of
Native American lineage, and
said the name made them feel
Since the complaint, her family has received a lot of backlash for stirring up the issue in the
Neshaminy community. Her family has withdrawn the
complaint, but the PHRC did not drop the issue.
The student body and staff have taken sides on the issue. Neshaminy High School’s newspaper, The Playwickian, published a statement in an issue where they said they would not use the term because it was racist term.
District officials fought the students on it. The students said that they would replace the term with a capital letter “R” followed by dashes or asterisk to represent the rest of the term.
Gillian McGoldrick, a
Neshaminy alum who worked
on the school paper all four years she was a student, told the Bucks County Courier Times,
“I just accepted it at first and didn’t think much about it. I knew it was a big tradition. During this debate I started on the side that was defending use of the name. Then, somebody on the other side compared use of the Redskin name to (another slur), and that made me just get up and change sides. It felt like I had been lied to, that I had been bamboozled into thinking use of ‘Redskin’ was OK and I had been accepting it for so long.”
When the district officials were informed of the Playwickian’s decision, they told the students that they would not be allowed to publish the paper unless the term was spelled out. The students published it anyway, and Dr. Robert McGee, Neshaminy’s principal at the time,
confiscated the paper as it was being handed out.
A Philadelphia Inquirer
columnist named Dr. McGee the worst person in the world, and stated, “The Neshaminy
community should be ashamed of its principal, Robert McGee, for acting like a third-rate
apparatchik in a totalitarian Communist regime.”
McGee did not respond to a request from the Centurion for comment. In the past he has said the issue is about the heritage and culture that is ingrained in the Neshaminy community.
More recently the district
has tightened its grip on the school’s newspaper, cutting its funding and reviewing every article written for the paper.
During the hearings, about 30 witnesses were heard from both sides, including alumni, teachers, and administrators.
This issue is not one that only Neshaminy is going through. Dozens of districts and schools have abandoned the term across the country after these concerns were brought to light, and even the NFL’s Washington Redskins have faced a backlash over their team name.