California first state to ban ‘Redskins’ name for public school teams, mascots

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California became the first state to ban public schools from using the term “Redskins” as a team name or mascot under a law signed Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The measure, which goes into effect, Jan. 1, 2017, affects four schools that are still using the term: Gustine High School, Calaveras High School, Chowchilla Union High School, and Tulare High School. The schools will be allowed to phase out materials such as uniforms, because of concerns about costs.

The bill was defeated four times in the state dating back to 2002 before it passed the Assembly and eventually was signed into law Sunday.

Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata, leaders of the advocacy group Change the Mascot, issued a statement and used the California law as a means to put pressure on the Washington Redskins.

“This landmark legislation eliminating the R-word in California schools clearly demonstrates that this issue is not going away, and that opposition to the Washington team on this issue is only intensifying. The NFL should act immediately to press the team to change the name,” Halbritter and Pata said in a statement, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The advocacy groups lauded California for “standing on the right side of history by bringing an end to the use of the demeaning and damaging R-word slur in the state’s schools. They have set a shining example for other states across the country, and for the next generation, by demonstrating a commitment to the American ideals of inclusion and mutual respect.”

— by USA TODAY | RNS

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