- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Harford County, Md. last night rejected the arguments of Indian activists that Havre de Grace High School should abandon its team name "Warriors" because it is offensive to American Indians.
Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Haas last night announced during a school board work session that she accepted Havre de Grace High School Principal Stephen Williams' decision to retain the team name.
A 12-member panel appointed by Mr. Williams to advise him on the issue recommended that the school review its Indian symbol to determine if it should be more historically accurate. It also recommended the school system review the treatment of Indians in the curriculum.
"It's just not a 'yes or no' decision. It's 'What are we supposed to learn from this?' as well," Mrs. Haas said.
School board members complimented Mr. Williams' efforts and unanimously passed a motion that supports preserving the team name.
"I'm extremely pleased with the panel and the process," Mr. Williams said yesterday. "We had two very intense and interesting nights of testimony."
Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs member Richard Regan spoke earlier this month at the first of the panel's two forums. He favored eliminating the 'Warriors' name and said the process "started with great promise but really faltered in the end."
"I don't think they ever had any intention of changing," Mr. Regan said yesterday. "This was just window dressing."
Mr. Regan on Sept. 18 filed a civil rights complaint with the school system regarding use of the name "Warriors" at Havre de Grace High School and Middle School and the name "Indians" at Havre de Grace Elementary School.
Both lower schools stated they would abide by the high school's decision.
Mrs. Haas last week dismissed the civil rights complaint.
"I am at a loss to discern anywhere in your letter any factual, empirical, or even anecdotal support for the notion that the continued use of the name 'Warriors' at the Havre de Grace schools has resulted in any specific harm to a single student," she wrote.
The 700-student high school just northeast of Baltimore has been using the name "Warriors" for more than half a century. Its logo depicts an Indian in a ceremonial headdress.
The Harford County decision is the first in the state in which a local school system has conducted such a program and decided to retain the name.
The state Board of Education in July endorsed a resolution of its minority achievement committee that condemned schools' use of Indian-inspired team names. The board stopped short of amending any regulations that would require schools to change the names, instead asking local superintendents to develop educational programs to address the issue.
In August, Montgomery County's school board ordered Poolesville High School to change the team name "Indians" by next school year. That decision set aside a community vote in May in which parents and students voted 493-321 to retain the name.
Maryland State Department of Education spokesman Ronald Peiffer said yesterday that the state board might not intervene if a local school board declined to change the Indian name.
"I think we're trying to be in a helping mode at this stage. So if they decide not to, I'm not sure the state will get involved," he said.
Mr. Peiffer said the state board acknowledged the costs involved with making such changes and the impact on the community.
In Montgomery County, the school board gave Poolesville $80,000 to alter jerseys, letterhead and the school's gymnasium floor. A citizens' group is still planning legal action against the county.

Copyright © 2018 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