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Defenders Of Tewksbury High's 'Redmen' Mascot On The Warpath

Dec 22, 2015 09:06PM ● By Bill Gilman

The Tewksbury School District has scheduled a public meeting for next month to discuss possibly removing "Redmen" as the Tewksbury Memorial High School mascot.

The meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. at Tewksbury Memorial High School’s Dr. Christine McGrath Performance Arts Center. 

“The forum is intended to elicit community opinion and gauge the level of support to change or maintain the current mascot," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. John O’Connor. "It is my intention to file a report highlighting your comments and opinions on this matter to the School Committee at a later meeting." 

The issue of the Tewksbury High mascot was raised by a pair of parents at a Tewksbury School Committee meeting earlier this month. Beth Cowett and Linda Thomas, speaking during the public forum portion of the meeting, said the term "Redmen" may once have been a socially acceptable term for Native Americans but no longer is.

The issue has ignited a social media firestorm with passionate views on both sides of the issue. A lengthy debate on the issue has taken place on the Facebook Page "Tewksbury Moms".

A Facebook page dedicated to protecting and defending the "Redmen" name has been established at "REDMEN ... HERE TO STAY!"  The page already has more than 700 followers.

The issue of the Redmen mascot has been raised on multiple occasions, including 2007, when some Massachusetts high schools, such as Natick High, switched their Native American mascots. Most recently, the issue was raised in Tewksbury five years ago but got little traction.

According to school district spokesperson John Lyons, members of the School Committee will be in attendance at the Jan. 27 meeting but will not comment or vote on the matter at that time.

All who wish to speak at the meeting will be allotted three minutes each to share their views.

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