Bellefonte alumni and students rally to keep school mascot

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — Members of a local community came out Saturday to rally in support of their school district’s 85-year-old mascot.

Last week, the Bellefonte Area School Board voted to retire the Red Raider logo, which symbolizes Native Americans.

Those who disagree with the move held a peaceful demonstration.

About three dozen people feel so strongly about the change in mascots that they came out to the Centre County Courthouse to show their concern.

Community members said the Red Raider logo means a lot to them.

“My family is Native American, my great-great-grandma was so I have Native American history, I don’t want to erase that, I want to keep that,” rally organizer, Brenda Reichert said.

“I just find it so sad that this is going to be stripped away from us when it’s been here 85 plus years and my brothers have graduated from this school as Bellefonte Red Raiders and that’s how I want to be too,” Bellefonte student Jasmin Williams said.

But school board members disagree, previously saying the logo is inappropriate.

“We’re not saying that we’re trying to erase history, it’s just that both sides of this argument, even at a national level from groups that we heard from, have stated to us that the current image of a Native American in a full headdress is not appropriate, it’s not historically accurate,” Bellefonte Area School District School Board President Jon Guizar said.

The rally organizer said this affects everyone who went to the school and she believes that the school board isn’t taking this into consideration.

“That everyone who went to Bellefonte, doesn’t matter if they live here, Florida, California, Europe, they all need a say in this because it’s all of their histories, we all went with Red Raiders, why change all of our histories,” Reichert said.

Reichert said she is hoping Bellefonte residents who want to keep the Red Raiders will join the virtual school board meeting Tuesday night on zoom to show their support.

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