East Islip HS graduate starts petition to remove 'Redmen' as school's mascot
A petition has been created with the aim of changing a Suffolk high school's mascot that has been called culturally insensitive.
For decades, East Islip High School has gotten behind its mascot "The Redman." But celebrations of that mascot and team name may be fading as the nation takes a closer look at race relations.
East Islip graduate Tess Parker, class of 2009, says the Redmen's mascot is insulting to Native Americans and needs to be changed. She started a petition to urge the school to retire the mascot and replace it with something else.
"Personally, I find it kind of embarrassing that the school hasn't changed it yet," says Parker. "What side of history does East Islip want to be on? Because I know what side of history I want East Islip to be on."
But the love of the name runs deep with some. Another online petition supporting the name has garnered its own attention. The petition's sponsor didn't want to talk on camera, but some who signed it like Sarah Martin say, "...people need to stop being offended over every little thing." Theresa O'Neil added "It is a symbol of our strength and pride for our community and school."
East Islip graduating senior Christian Acevedo says he sees both sides of the argument.
"I understand people would be upset about it. I know I have some like Native American blood in me, I don't really find it offensive," he says. "But I understand that there are people who would find it offensive."
East Islip Schools Superintendent John Dolan said in a statement that he respects the opinions in the petition, adding, "Our district has an open door policy and we are always available and willing to listen to the voices within our community."