The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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“The Playwickian,” one year later


In September 2013 of my senior year, I joined the editorial board of Neshaminy High School’s award winning newspaper, “The Playwickian.”

A month later, the path that the paper would go on that year, would be a rocky one, and forever change not only the Playwickian itself, but members of the editorial board as well.

On Oct. 23 2013, in a 2-3 vote published in an unsigned editorial, “The Playwickian” editors reported the decision to ban the word “Redskin” from publication.

My fellow editors decided on this ban because the word is, by definition, a racial slur. It has been compared to things like the “N” word and other racial slurs.

Many Native Americans, who continue to celebrate their culture, are outraged by the term.

This decision came with an immense amount of backlash from, not only Neshaminy’s administration, but students and community members as well.

Neshaminy football is a program rich in tradition, and is a well-respected “power house” team. So, when members of what is commonly known as “Skins Nation,” went up against their own beloved school’s mascot, things didn’t go over well.

Members of the school board fought for months in an effort to force the editors to publish what has come to be known as the “R” word, saying the editors could not decide what was and was not to be published.

That didn’t stop the editors from standing up for what they felt was right. They even hired a lawyer to defend their case.

Their first amendment rights as journalists were being threatened, which threw the whole Redskin controversy into something much bigger. This was now a legal matter.

For months, administration and members of the editorial board fought back and forth to try and come to an agreement, but every time they met, it ended in a stalemate.

In May 2014, an op-ed piece was submitted by a student, which contained the word “Redskin.” Principal Rob McGee told the editorial staff that they would have to run the piece, or the final issue of the paper would not be distributed.

But, without administration’s permission, the editorial staff omitted the entire article, and went underground to publish the final issue of The Playwickian anyway.

As a result, all access to social media accounts were blocked, as was the online version of “The Playwickian,” and all of the final issues of the paper were confiscated.

So the question remains, where are they now?

I caught up with my former adviser Tara Huber and discussed the matter.

“Policy 600 was created in reaction to the editor’s decision last year. Editors are free not to use the word ‘Redskin’ in news and sports articles, but they are not allowed to edit the word out of any editorials or letters to the editor,” said Huber.

“Student editors are also not allowed to choose the advertisements that are published.”

But that’s not the only thing that has changed since the new policy has been enacted.

“As per Policy 600, there is now a 10 day prior review. Comment sections were removed from the website. All of these restrictions have changed the way we operate the newspaper,” said Huber.

Talks of this controversy were not limited to the confines of Bucks County. The Playwickian made national news and headlines all across the country.

“On a national level the students still receive letters of support and encouragement for both their stance on the word Redskin and the willingness to fight for students press rights. The students are subject to harsh criticism from their peers and a few local community members via social media,” said Huber.

Despite negative feedback, the student editors continue to thrive.

“The students have received awards at the state and national level, bringing much pride to the program and to the school as well,” said Huber.