Police investigating alleged death, racial threats against girl opposing Fairfield ‘Indians’ mascot

A senior Fairfield High School claims she is the target of threats after making an online post and survey asking for suggestions on other school district mascots besides the "Indians." The student, who said she is Native American, said she was shocked by the responses and school district officials said they are investigating her allegations. The Indian mascot image is common in Fairfield Schools. Pictured is the main office of the Fairfield Freshman School. (Photo By Michael D. Clark\Journal-News)
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A senior Fairfield High School claims she is the target of threats after making an online post and survey asking for suggestions on other school district mascots besides the "Indians." The student, who said she is Native American, said she was shocked by the responses and school district officials said they are investigating her allegations. The Indian mascot image is common in Fairfield Schools. Pictured is the main office of the Fairfield Freshman School. (Photo By Michael D. Clark\Journal-News)

Police in Fairfield Twp. say they are “attempting to further the investigation” into claims from a Fairfield High School senior who said she received death threats and racial slurs after advocating online the district should drop its “Indians” mascot.

Fairfield Twp. Police Robert Chabali told the Journal-News Friday “we should have something more by the middle of next week, maybe sooner,” regarding his department’s review of the alleged social media threats against the female student.

But, Chabali added, “we do not have complainant at this time.”

He said the initial police incident report is not available for public viewing because the high school student is a juvenile.

ExploreFairfield student reports death threats after post about changing ‘Indians’ mascot

Both Fairfield Twp. Police and Fairfield school officials have said they are investigating allegations made by the girl, who told the Journal-News’ media partner WCPO-TV she is a Native American.

Friday, school officials said they had nothing new to report regarding their investigation into the alleged incident.

“I expected a negative response, but I did not expect, like, the threats that I’m getting,” said Joelle Reid. “And definitely not people calling me racial slurs,” reported WCPO-TV.

“Some of them have been like telling me to kill myself or saying that they’re going to kill me or sexually assault me and calling me racial slurs.”

Students enrolled in the 10,000-student Fairfield Schools live in either Fairfield Twp. or the city of Fairfield.

Fairfield High School officials said the student reported the alleged threats Wednesday and minutes later they immediately notified the high school’s security resource officer (SRO) to initiate an investigation.

“Calling people Indians isn’t empowerment,” said Reid. “I think that part of the reason why people think that it is, is because they claim that, well, it’s calling you guys scary and cool, but it’s not. I don’t want to be scary and cool. I just want to be a person.”

Her contribution to a conversation surrounding Fairfield’s mascot isn’t a new one — in 2020, a student-led group called Fairfield for Change began pushing for a rebranding of the mascot, according to reporting by WCPO-TV.

Parts of the exteriors and interiors of many of the schools — including signage — in the 10,000-student school system feature an illustration of the mascot, depicting a warrior’s head adorn in a headdress worn centuries ago by some Native Americans.

The Fairfield school system was created in 1929 but the year of the incorporation of the Indians name and mascot are not known, said school officials.

Besides the mascot images, a life-size, carved in wood depiction of a statue of a Native American warrior stands in the high school’s main office — a gift from the Fairfield High School graduating class of 2009.