At this N.J. high school, removing a Native American mascot is more complicated
The Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education is embroiled in a battle between petitions.
One calls for a change to the North Jersey high school’s sports moniker, the Chiefs, as well as a removal of what some have called a racist headdress logo.
The other demands it keep the name, citing school history and a supposedly nebulous connection to Native American heritage.
Each letter includes more than 3,000 signers, enough for the board to have discussed the issue earlier this month and agree to address it during an upcoming August summer workshop, Superintendent James Heinegg said.
During the July 15 meeting, City Hall weighed in, sharing their support for the logo’s removal.
“This would be a great message to the community and it would be a great teaching tool for the young students that are coming into the high school, and those that are there and those that have graduated,” Caldwell Mayor John Kelley told NJ Advance Media, when asked if he endorses the effort to remove the logo. “So do I support it? Yes, I do. I think it’s time.”
Caldwell is the latest New Jersey school district to reckon with the national movement to change sports teams’ Native American mascots. The topic has already caused a stir at nearby high schools like Wayne Valley and Weehawken whose mascots are both the Indians. It was further underscored last month when Washington’s football franchise agreed to shed its longstanding “Redskins” identity.
Residents against the Caldwell logo cite the American Psychological Association ...
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