A Bethesda, Md., private school has made a decision about the Washington Redskins’ NFL logo and team name which it says “feels profoundly at odds with our community’s mission and values.” The Green Acres School website posted a pop-up letter from the head of school that announces that any and all Washington Redskins gear will be banned from the school premises heading forward.
In the lengthy letter, Head of School Neal M. Brown, Ed.D., said that 3rd graders and 6th graders raising questions in class were the impetus behind moving forward on a long-time internal discussion, saying:
Perspectives varied in each of these discussions, as one would suspect. The local football team has been around a long time and has experienced great successes; loyalty to this beloved team and passion for the game of football are understandably strong among many of our students, families, and staff members. Clearly, there is nothing wrong with rooting for one’s team.
At the same time, the term “Redskin” is a racial slur. Its use, whether intentional or not, can be deeply insulting and offensive. It is a term that demeans a group of people. Similarly, the team’s logo also can reasonably be viewed as racially demeaning. At best, the image is an ethnic stereotype that promotes cultural misunderstanding; at worst, it is intensely derogatory.
Also on the website, the school describes itself as committed to the “principles of progressive education and to ongoing exploration of what this means in the 21st century.” The school teaches kids as young as 3 years old and as advanced as the 8th grade.
After the decision was made and the news got wind of it, Brown spoke with Fox 5 DC about his rationale.
He said that the football team name and logo, in his view, violated the school’s mission and diversity statement by being “at best […] an ethnic stereotype” and “At worst […] deeply demeaning.”
Green Acres School has been around in 1934. It was the first racially-integrated school in Montgomery County, Md.