7/15/20 1:12 p.m. Editors Correction: The original story stated Conemaugh Township Area School District was considering the matter of changing their mascot but, did not have a comment at that time. This information was inaccurate and corrected in a statement from the district.
T.J. Kakabar, Superintendent wrote on their district’s Facebook page, “The administration and Board of School Directors are not considering any changes to our name.”
CONEMAUGH TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WTAJ) — Right now there is a national movement in the sports world to be more politically correct, and the hot button issue revolves around mascots.
The recent decision to change the Washington Redskins name to something more sensitive has caused schools around the nation to reconsider their own mascots, and in Conemaugh Township, that debate hits home.
An Indian head adorns the front door of the Conemaugh Township Area middle and high school building, with the traditional feather headdress detailed on the walls in its office.
Just like in Bellefonte, where the Red Raiders have been the mascot since 1936, the Conemaugh Township Indians were first named when the school was developed in the late 1920s.
Now both schools, like many others, are facing the decision after several decades on whether to keep the tradition, or change it.
“If you aren’t Native American, [then] you shouldn’t have a say, even if you think it’s tradition,” said Molly McCullough, a student in the Conemaugh area, “I feel like if there was a problem now and someone told them to change the name they maybe should.”
Other members of the Conemaugh community disagree, such as Shirley G, a neighbor to the Conemaugh high school building, that says the mascot represents the area’s history.
“This is an Indian town, you notice the streets are named after Indians,” said Shirley, “so I don’t think it would hurt if they kept Indians.”
The topic is pretty fresh for Conemaugh Township and other schools in central Pennsylvania, and at this point, time will only tell.
WTAJ reached out to the Conemaugh highschool administration and is waiting on a response from the district’s Superintendent.