FWCS Opens Dialogue on North Side Nickname

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Record Number: 12930
Displayed from: Jul 22, 2015 , until: Sep 22, 2015

Fort Wayne Community Schools is opening a dialogue with students, parents, staff, alumni and the greater community regarding North Side High School’s nickname.

When North Side opened in 1927, the nickname Redskins was chosen as a source of pride in the area’s rich Native American history. But the name, now perceived as a derogatory term, is inconsistent with the district’s core values, which includes valuing “the diversity and uniqueness of our district and community.”

In the coming months, FWCS will offer opportunities for all involved to provide their input in shaping the future of traditions at North Side. A timeline has not yet been established as district leaders, in consultation with students, alumni and members of the Miami Tribe, are just beginning the process.

As the plan is developed, education will be a key component, Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. Students and adults need to be educated on the traditions and history of Native Americans to better understand why the nickname is offensive to many people.

Administrators understand this will be an emotional issue for many as the nickname is connected to many North Side traditions. But after hearing the issue come up many times over the last decade, members of the FWCS Board of School Trustees suggested it was time to bring the conversation forward.

“The Board is not dictating how this process unfolds, but the use of this nickname is inconsistent with our core values,” Board President Mark GiaQuinta said. “This issue has gotten to the point that we couldn’t keep putting it in the parking lot to deal with at a future time.”

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.