Maryland elementary school bans students, staff from wearing Redskins clothing

Washington Redskins players' helmets rest on the field during training camp.
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Washington Redskins players' helmets rest on the field during training camp.

A private school in the Maryland suburbs of Washington has banned students and staff from wearing clothing with the name or logo of the Washington NFL team.

A letter to families posted on the website of Green Acres School in Bethesda, Md., says that "the term 'Redskin' is a racial slur. Its use, whether intentional or not, can be deeply insulting and offensive."

Green Acres School is for students age three through grade eight.

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The letter, signed by Neal M. Brown, head of school, said the issue was raised last year by third-grade students during their study of Native Americans. Later students in the third and sixth grades discussed ethnically or racially derived sports team logos as part of the school's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. Since, the school community studied the issue, beginning with its staff diversity committee, before coming to a decision to ban the clothing.

"It is a term that demeans a group of people," the letter says. "Similarly, the team's logo also can reasonably be viewed as racially demeaning. At best, the image is an ethnic stereotype that promotes cultural misunderstanding; at worst, it is intensely derogatory."

The Green Acres School website says the school was founded in 1934 as the first racially integrated school in Montgomery County "by parents who wanted to develop in their children a love of learning, a strong sense of intrinsic motivation, and a deep commitment to social justice."

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The letter asks that parents "not send your children to school wearing clothing with either the team name or logo in the year and years to come." It says that the head of school will be speaking with students to share with them his decision "and to enlist their understanding and support" and it invites parents to reach out with any questions they may have "about how to discuss this with your child."

Requests for comment from the Washington team and from Green Acres School were not immediately returned.

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