- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Resignation has replaced resistance in Poolesville, where the "Falcons" have uprooted the "Indians" in a skirmish over the high school's team name.
Community members are still angry at the Montgomery County Board of Education's decision to eliminate the "Indian" team name at Poolesville High School. But they say they will accept a student vote changing the name, since planned legal action has fallen through.
"I'm still upset by the whole process, but at this point, what can I do?" said Jerry Klobukowski, town commissioner, yesterday.
The community couldn't afford legal fees to challenge the decision, he said, and it was unable to find a lawyer who would take the case pro bono.
So when "Falcons" edged out co-finalists "Mustangs" and "Raiders" in a series of votes by Poolesville High School students and eighth-graders at John Poole Middle School, most people realized the fight was over. A list of 80 possible names suggested by students, faculty and community members was pared down to the three co-finalists.
"I can't see us overruling the kids a second time," said Robin McCollum, a Poolesville alumna whose daughter just graduated from the school and whose son is about to enter.
Parents and students voted 493-321 in May to retain the nickname "Indians" after a series of community meetings prompted complaints from the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs. In August, the school board decided the name was offensive and gave the school $80,000 and one year to change it.
About 250 youth league football players and cheerleaders from the Poolesville Athletic Association, who wore Indian uniforms in emulation of the high school team, also will be affected, said Mrs. McCollum, secretary of the association. Next year's uniforms likely will just feature the letters "PAA," she said.
A September poll by the firm of Gonzales-Arscott research & Communications Inc. found that 66 percent of Maryland residents disagreed with the school board's decision.
Three schools in Baltimore and Prince George's County have indicated they would be willing to abandon Indian-inspired team names, but Mr. Klobukowski said he feels "vindicated" by recent decisions in Harford and Cecil counties to retain their Indian-inspired team names.
In a last measure of defiance, Mr. Klobukowski has vowed not to allow taxpayer money to be used to paint over a giant "Go Indians" slogan on a water tower adjacent to the school.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide