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Posted: August 31, 2017

Maryland private school bans Washington Redskins gear, citing ‘racial slur’

A Washington Redskins helmet sits on the grass during a preseason football game between the Redskins and Cleveland Browns at FedExField on August 18, 2014 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by TJ Root/Getty Images)
TJ Root/Getty Images
A Washington Redskins helmet sits on the grass during a preseason football game between the Redskins and Cleveland Browns at FedExField on August 18, 2014 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by TJ Root/Getty Images)

By Matt Naham, Rare.us

A Bethesda, Maryland, private school has made a decision about the Washington Redskins’ NFL logo and team name, saying it “feels profoundly at odds with (its) community’s mission and values.” 

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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 said third-graders and sixth-graders raising questions in class were the impetus behind moving forward on a long-time internal discussion.

The letter reads, in part, as follows:

“Last year, our community engaged in thoughtful and open discussions about the wearing of the Washington professional football team logo and the use of the term “Redskins” on campus. We first talked about it in the Staff Diversity Committee, then as a full staff, then with all of our Middle School students, and finally with several parents who joined members of the administration and the Inclusion and Diversity Committee. Students in grade 3 also raised the issue during their study of Native Americans, and then they and the 6th graders engaged in a discussion of ethnically and/or racially–derived sports team logos as part of last year’s celebration of MLK Day. 
“... 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.”

Brown asserted that Green Acres is “an inclusive and uplifting community” that “welcome(s) people of any race, national or ancestral origin.”

“We cannot continue to allow children or staff members --however well intentioned -- to wear clothing that disparages a race of people,” he wrote.

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 eighth 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, Maryland.


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