Reporting Jenn Bernstein
By Jenn Bernstein
NESHAMINY, Pa. (CBS) – “Everybody do the Redskin Rumble” is spelled out on the front of Neshaminy High School’s welcome sign. The school’s mascot, a Native American with a headdress, is proudly displayed.
It’s a sign of school spirit for many, but for parent Donna Boyle, it’s a source of pain.
“I am part Cherokee and part Choctaw,” said Boyle, “to say that it’s honorable to call somebody a Redskin… it’s about a dead body, how honorable is that?”
Donna Boyle has lived in town for more than 30 years. Her older son graduated and her younger son is now a freshman.
She says she was always uncomfortable with the nickname ‘Redskin,’ but when she went to a parent’s night this year, she felt like she couldn’t get away from the nickname.
Boyle wants the school board to change the name it has had for more than 50 years.
“You just wouldn’t name a team after the color of somebody’s skin,” said Boyle, “there are other thoughts that it came from the scalping, the killing, of Native Americans, instead of bringing back a whole body, they’d bring back scalps or body pieces.”
An article on the debate was posted on a closed Facebook page created for Neshaminy parents. It’s generated hundreds of comments, and many of them are against Boyle’s position.
Below are some of the comments:
“…The name is used to promote winning with pride, good behavior, losing with pride, doing your best, good sportsmanship.”
“..as a Native American myself, I find it an honor to be a Redskin.”
“..I just personally see it a point of community pride and honor.”
“Ms. Boyle is clearly distressed by the use of the name Neshaminy Redskins. Although I do think she has the right to have her objections addressed by the Board, Ms. Boyle needs to understand that the Board has much more pressing issues to deal with right now, including the long-standing issue of contract negotiations with the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers. Now is really not the time to be dealing with a name change, especially considering the considerable cost the district would incur to do so.”
The School Board Chairman told Boyle at the meeting they would discuss the issue with members.
We called the school several times, but no calls were returned.