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Mascot issue is back

The State Board of Education has ruled that the Washington County Board of Education must first decide whether using American In

The State Board of Education has ruled that the Washington County Board of Education must first decide whether using American In

September 02, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The push to ban the use of American Indian mascots and nicknames is still alive in Washington County - for now.

The Maryland State Board of Education decided last week that the Washington County Board of Education must first rule on whether to stop using the mascots before the state board can make a decision.

Richard Regan, a Lumbee Indian from Kensington, Md., on Friday called the ruling "somewhat of a victory" because the state board didn't reject his request outright.

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He said, however, his effort to have all school systems in the state stop using the names is an uphill battle.

Regan claims use of the names and mascots is racist and has convinced Montgomery County to change Poolesville High School's Indians name.

He hasn't had the same success in Frederick County, which rejected his request. The state board later dismissed an appeal from Regan.

He said he's made the request to more than a dozen school systems statewide.

Regan asked the Washington County Board of Education in February to stop using the names and symbols for the Boonsboro Warriors and the Conococheague Indians.

After Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan denied the request, he appealed to the state Board of Education.

Morgan said Regan wasn't a county resident and didn't have any standing in the county.

Now that the decision is back in the hands of the School Board, President Edward Forrest said Sunday the board agrees with Morgan's opinion.

He said the use of the names is not insensitive.

"Right now it's not an issue that we intend to look at in the future," Forrest said.

In his appeal to the state board, Regan stated that the use of the names and mascots "contradicts the main mission of an educational institution which is to transcend racial and cultural boundaries and encourage respectful relations among all people who live and work in that school environment."

He also stated that the names "suggest not only an insensitivity to another race and culture but an urge to dominate that culture by controlling them through misidentification, misappropriation and misrepresentation."

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