School Board: Student Paper Editors Can’t Ban "Redskins" Word

By Kelly Bayliss
|  Friday, Jun 27, 2014  |  Updated 6:18 AM PDT
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The Neshaminy School Board voted Thursday night on a policy that could force student editors to print the name of the school's mascot in certain situations. NBC10's George Spencer was there as the board voted, and got reaction from students.

NBC10.com - George Spencer

The Neshaminy School Board voted Thursday night on a policy that could force student editors to print the name of the school's mascot in certain situations. NBC10's George Spencer was there as the board voted, and got reaction from students.

School administrators in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, have delivered a final blow to students hoping to ban the use of the word "Redskins" in their high school newspaper.

In a school board meeting Thursday night, Neshaminy School Board members approved a policy that would force student editors of "The Playwickian" to print the name of the Neshaminy High School mascot, the "Redskins," in certain situations, like in letters to the editor or editorials.

Administrators can't, however, force students to use the term in news stories printed in the paper.

The school newspaper's staff voted in October to ban the word "Redskins," calling it a racial slur against Native Americans. Two weeks ago, a federal panel ruled that the NFL's Washington Redskins team name is disparaging and that its trademarks should be canceled.

And although the board's decision to force the use of the word in certain situations was meant to be a middle ground, editors and other students are not happy.

"We're gonna keep fighting this," said co-editor Gillian McGoldrick. "There's no way we're just going to sit back and let these restrictions happen to us."

Board officials say banning use of the term "Redskins" may trample the free speech rights of other students.

"I think if you feel weird about it, you shouldn't use it," said Managing Editor Jackson Haines.

The school board's vote is essentially the end of the line for students opposed to the use of the word, but the editors do have an attorney and haven't ruled out taking legal action against their school district.

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