The day of the "Redskins" is over in Lancaster as the controversial nickname and mascot was voted out Monday night by the school board at a special meeting before a packed auditorium at the William Street School. The vote was 7 to 0.
"I was proud of them and proud to be a part of process," said John Kane, a strong crusader for Native American rights and radio talk show host who had joined forces with those who had pushed for the change, arguing the nickname was offensive and a racial slur to Native Americans, a position the school board supported in its action Monday night.
"They [school board members] thoughtfully went through the process and they voted with their conscience, I believe," said Kane in responding to the board's action to do away with native imagery altogether and create a fair environment for all children.
Kane said the audience he estimated at more than 100 was about equally split, with opponents of the board's decision frequently being disruptive and shouting out their feelings. But he said most of those in attendance and the people who he has come into contact with during the lengthy and often bitter debate between neighbors were respectful and courteous, and many felt it was just time to move on.
The action comes in the wake of the decision by three school districts, Akron, Lake Shore, and Niagara Wheatfield, to have their lacrosse teams boycott playing against Lancaster as long as the Redskins nickname was in place.
In the resolution passed on Monday, Lancaster Supt. Michael Vallely said the longstanding nickname had become "a symbol of ethnic stereotyping" and if the nickname stayed in place, it could subject students to retaliation.
The debate over the nickname attracted national attention and USA Today posted the story of the board's decision to revoke the nickname on its website shortly after Monday's vote.