The debate over the “Redskins” name in sports isn’t just at the professional level.
Students at an Oklahoma City high school were refusing to go into Capitol Hill High School on Wednesday morning because their mascot no longer has the controversial name, according to CNN affiliate KOCO.
Dozens of students stood on the lawn outside the building rather than heading into class.
The city’s public school board voted Monday to change the name in response to Native American students’ feelings that the mascot name was offensive. The vote to change the mascot, which has been in place since the 1920s, was unanimous.
School administrators will immediately start phasing out the Redskins mascot and will create a committee of current and former students and community members to pick a new mascot before the end of the spring semester, spokeswoman Tierney Tinnin said in a statement, according to The Oklahoman.
In the NFL, Washington Redskins football team owner Dan Snyder has repeatedly defended his team’s use of the name and wrote in a March letter that the name “captures the best of who we are and who we can be, by staying true to our history and honoring the deep and enduring values our name represents.”
The support of a handful of Oklahoma City high school students isn’t likely to help Snyder’s cause. President Barack Obama said last year that he might change the name if he were the team owner.
In June, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office found that six team trademarks were offensive and canceled them. The team appealed, and the patent office ruled that the Redskins could use the logos until the years-long appeals process was complete.
The National Congress of American Indians has spoken out against the use of “Redskins” and other Native American mascots.