CENTRE COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — Earlier this month, the Bellefonte Area School Board voted to retire the Red Raiders logo which shows the head of a Native American and Wednesday night the members voted on the name.
It took two meetings, multiple residents speaking out, and many hours but the board finally came to a decision, in the vote Wednesday night they decided to drop the word red and be known as the Raiders.
“Last night there was 60 plus people who called in to retain the name of Red Raider and 30 plus people who called to retire the name of Red Raider.”
The zoom meeting last night went on for five hours, with more than 100 residents passionately voicing their concerns on both sides.
And board members did not all see eye to eye on this matter either.
When you actually take a step back and look at the name Red Raiders you are using a divisive term in red and referring to the Native American population as the enemy who is raiding the land, there is plenty of ways to honor the Native American population, but having the nickname of Red Raiders is not one of them,” Bellefonte Area School District Board Member Kristen Bruckner said.
“Our colors are red and white and while I appreciate everyone’s opinion I do not feel that Red Raiders together has anything to do with anything racist or comes across as white supremacy or anything of that, I believe red is a color, you choose to make it about race that’s on you.”
But the final board vote was 6 to 3, majority voting to drop the word red and just go by Raiders beginning the 2021-2022 school year.
The district will create a committee that includes representatives from the student body, community, teachers, and administration to help come up with an image of this nickname that has no connection to a group’s race, ethnicity, or national origin.
The committee will come up with 3 recommendations no later than the first board meeting in November 2021.