Editors Of Student Paper Fight To Ban Use Of School Mascot Name
By Jan Carabeo
NESHAMINY, Pa. (CBS) — Student editors of The Playwickian, Neshaminy High School’s student-run newspaper, plan on speaking during Tuesday night’s school board work session. They want the school board to back off a policy that would prevent editors from banning the term Redskins in the paper.
Editor in chief of the Playwickian Gillian McGoldrick says, “My name goes on the paper and so does the Neshaminy School District. Do they really want to be publishing a word that is offensive?”
Gillian McGoldrick is the editor-in-chief of the student paper at Neshaminy High School.
She and the board of editors voted 14-7 to ban the term early this school year.
“We’ve received so many letters from Native Americans nationwide. It’s overwhelming how much support we’ve received.”
But not so much support from the district’s school board.
The policy committee has approved a measure that would prevent the newspaper from banning the word outright.
School District Attorney Mike Levin says, “The school district recognizes that depending on the context of the use of the word, it could be a bad choice of words, it could be a good choice of words, a word that could be constitutionally protected to use.”
The students’ attorney disagrees.
Gayle Sproul represents a group of student editors.
“I think the fundamental disagreement is the word context. I don’t think there is a context in which it’s not offensive.”
And she says the student ban is legal.
“What they’re trying to do is to act like editors of any other newspaper, just the way the law says they can. Nothing they want to do is offensive.”
This school board’s policy that would prevent the student ban of the r-word still needs final approval. That vote is set for the end of this month.
But for students, this comes down to principle and they plan to fight until their voices are heard.