Parents in a Washington, D.C., suburb are calling on the local school board to ban all Washington Redskins attire from classrooms.
Jared Hautamaki was dropping his child off at Highland Elementary School in Montgomery County, Md., in September when he noticed the school’s principal wearing a shirt emblazoned with the the Redskins logo, and was immediately offended.
Hautamaki went before the Montgomery County School Board in October to make his case. He said the board and the school’s principal should know about about the “detrimental psychological effects” that exposure to these type of mascots have on students.
Hautamaki said he emailed the school board twice prior to his testimony, but received no response.
“On September 11, as I was dropping my kindergartner off at Highland, I noticed the principal wearing a burgundy and gold polo shirt, and on the sleeve was the slur that has been held in federal courts as being inherently offensive and has resulted in the invalidation of the trademark,” Hautamaki told the board during a mid-October hearing.
The board banned schools in the district from using native mascots in 2011, and Hautamaki said that ban should be extended to clothing being worn in the schools.
The school board balked at the assertion, according to The Washington Post. Officials with the school district told the paper complaints about the Redskins logo aren’t widespread among parents and should be addressed by individual schools, not in a countywide policy.
Hautamaki launched a petition earlier this week on Change.org, demanding the board change the dress code to ban Redskins gear, which received 85 signatures as of Thursday night.
“MCPS students deserve an educational environment free from racism and racist slurs and imagery,” the petition reads. “Please tell the Board of Education to take action to ensure that students have a safe educational environment for all students regardless of ethnicity.”
In July, a federal judge cancelled the trademark on the Washington Redskins logo, calling it offensive and ineligible for trademark registry. The judge upheld a 2014 trademark ruling that “the team’s moniker is offensive to Native Americans and therefore ineligible under the Lanham Act for status in the federal trademark registry.”
Earlier this week, the Redskins defended their name by pointing out hundreds of other trademarked names that are more offensive than the Redskins, including: TAKE YO PANTIES OFF clothing, DANGEROUS NEGRO shirts, SLUTSSEEKER dating services and DAGO SWAGG clothing, among many others.