A student newspaper that was told it could not ban the word “Redskins” from the publication may go to court over the issue.
Several months ago, the editorial board of the Neshaminy High School newspaper in Langhorne, Pa., wrote that it was going to place a ban on printing the word “Redskins” due to its offensive nature. However, in November, the school’s principal, Rob McGee, overturned the ban, saying that it violated the First Amendment rights of those who wanted to use the word, which serves as a "nickname of the teams at Neshaminy," the Associated Press reports.
"I don't think that's been decided at the national level, whether that word is or is not (offensive). It's our school mascot," McGee said at the time, the AP notes. "I see it as a First Amendment issue running into another First Amendment issue."
Still, in recent days, the editorial board of the school newspaper, the Playwickian, has shown that it is not backing down from the original plan. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a law firm representing the newspaper has warned school officials that it is within the student editors' constitutional rights to reinstate the ban. A lawyer representing the students also did not dismiss the possibility of a lawsuit.
"The students will proceed in accordance with their published policy and, if disciplined for doing so, will take action to defend their rights," said a letter from lawyers at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, according to the outlet.
In response, McGee told the outlet that if the two parties could not find a solution, "then the courts will define a new standard to fit our particular situation in Neshaminy."
In November, the editor in chief of the Playwickian, Gillian Goldrick, explained the newspaper's stance and said she thought the editorial board of the newspaper should have control over its content, the Student Press Law Center notes.
“We just want our rights,” she said at the time, according to the outlet. “We just want to be able to say what’s in our paper and what’s not.
In recent months, the owner of the Washington Redskins has come under fire for not changing the name of the professional football team, even as leaders like President Barack Obama have noted the term is offensive to Native Americans. Several newspapers across the country have made the decision to stop printing the term.