Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Students at Green Acres School are now banned from wearing apparel associated with the Washington Redskins.
Neal M. Brown, the head of school for Green Acres School, wrote an open letter to the community on the school's website. Green Acres School is located in North Bethesda, Md., about 30 minutes from FedEx Field, the home of the Redskins.
The school's community and administrators previously had discussions about wearing the team's logo and the use of the term "Redskins" on campus. The discussion began with the staff diversity committee, then as a full staff, then with all of the middle school students. Several parents later joined members of the administration and the inclusion and diversity committee.
"Students in Grade 3 also raised the issue during their study of Native Americans, and then they and the 6th graders engaged in a discussion of ethnically and/or racially-derived sports team logos as part of last year's celebration of MLK Day," Brown's letter said.
"Perspectives varied in each of these discussions, as one would suspect. The local football team has been around a long time and has experienced great successes; loyalty to this beloved team and passion for the game of football are understandably strong among many of our students, families, and staff members. Clearly, there is nothing wrong with rooting for one's team."
"At the same time, the term "Redskin" is a racial slur. Its use, whether intentional or not, can be deeply insulting and offensive. It is a term that demeans a group of people. Similarly, the team's logo also can reasonably be viewed as racially demeaning. At best, the image is an ethnic stereotype that promotes cultural misunderstanding; at worst, it is intensely derogatory."
Brown stated that having students or staff members on campus wearing the gear "feels profoundly at odds with" the community's mission and values.
"We pledge in our Diversity Statement to foster both "an inclusive and uplifting community" and "a sense of belonging for everyone in the Green Acres community."
"Similarly, our Statement of Inclusion calls upon us to "welcome people of any race, national, or ancestral origin," among other social identifiers. Further, as our guidelines for "appropriate dress" in the Community Handbook require students to "dress in ways that demonstrate respect for others," we cannot continue to allow children or staff members-however well intentioned-to wear clothing that disparages a race of people."
Green Acres School has an enrollment of 250 children.
Washington has used the team name since 1933.