On April 22, my Boy Scout troop attended the Bellefonte Area Board of School Directors meeting as part of our Citizenship in the Community merit badge.
For one of the requirements, we needed to come prepared with an issue or question to present to a member of the board. I presented to the board the issue of BAHS’s mascot being the Red Raider, and using Native American imagery with their logos.
Since the term “Red” is a derogatory term for American Indians, shouldn’t Bellefonte be proactive and consider a change?
I suggested two solutions to the board to consider. The first would be to drop “Red” and be the Bellefonte Raiders. This is exactly what Colgate University did in 2001.
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They would be able to keep their Native American imagery, and it would take away the offense when you tie both “Red” and American Indian imagery together.
The second option, which I like better, would be to drop any American Indian imagery in their logos and keep their mascot name, Red Raider.
This would appeal to the school pride that alumni might feel for their school mascot and would be just like what the Texas Tech Red Raiders do with their Red Raider mascot, who is simply a masked rider, similar to a cowboy, with a red cape.
I don’t believe that we need to drop our mascot and become another generic mascot. A simple change would be all that is needed, and it would be the right thing to do.
The writer is a fifth-grader at Pleasant Gap Elementary School.