By Josee Li
For more than 70 years, the Council Rock School District has adopted the authentic story of the Lenape Indians holding council around a large rock, which was supposedly located in the Council Rock School District area. It is from this history that Council Rock North has used the “Indians” as the official school mascot. However, this summer, our school’s mascot became a contentious issue.
Many community members heard about this debate through the Instagram page “crnmascot.” The creators of this page asked community members to sign their online petition to change the mascot.
In addition to the 1,097 supporters online, many students at CRN also expressed their support for the mascot change. One student who supports the mascot change is Kiara Alvarez.
“I would like the mascot to be changed. It’s just offensive, and it doesn’t make sense to have the Native Americans as our mascot when Native Americans represent less than one percent of our school population.”
For many, the use of the Native Americans seems to be racially offensive. The pro-change petition writers express this sentiment by pointing out specific actions that may offend: “Tomahawk chops and war cries by fans and marching bands are racist.”
On the other hand, many students at CRN believe in keeping the mascot. Their reasoning? The mascot helps to bring together current and former students as well as community members in a unified group with a shared sense of pride.
One particular alumna, Paula Folger, spoke out about her feelings as a member of the Council Rock North 2002 graduating class. She stated that “all of [her] family and friends are Council Rock graduates,” and she wishes to keep the tradition of the Council Rock Indians going. As of today, her online petition to keep the mascot has a total of 4,329 pledges.
The conversation has been a controversial one, to say the least. Some students declined the opportunity to share their thoughts on this issue, underscoring the sensitivity of the subject.
In reflection on the nature of the debate itself, social studies teacher Ms. Kristen Mallon concludes, “I think that this debate is a beneficial discussion that shows our community that we’re open to different thoughts about our changing environment. Although the discussion highlights a lot of sensitive topics, it ultimately opens up the chance for all of us to work together on these issues.”