Parma school district begins community discussions about high school nickname and mascot

The administration, in the first of 3 virtual community forums, heard varying opinions on the future of the Redmen name and mascot.
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 11:22 PM EDT
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PARMA, Ohio (WOIO) - Leaders in the Parma City School District have opened up a community discussion, wanting to hear from community members and concerned citizens on the future of the high school’s Redmen nickname and mascot.

Parma Schools Superintendent Charlie Smialek held the first of 3\three virtual community forums and what played out was a respectful and productive session that included comments from multiple people from the area’s Indigenous community.

Topher, a Najavo who was raised in Greater Cleveland, is grateful that people are willing to have the conversation and believes it is past time to eliminate the mascot.

“It isn’t until now that we’re actually having a voice and it’s quite a thing to see,” Topher said.

Brittany, who said she was a Parma High grad, was even more adamant that the school must move on, completely, from the Redmem identity.

“It’s very embarrassing to have to say that that is your mascot for your high school,” she said. “It’s so outdated, it’s looked at as very racist, it makes me ashamed to say that I am from Parma Senior High.”

Justin, who is affiliated with the district’s wrestling program, said he is fine with moving on from the nickname but wished people would realize the way the name and mascot was intended.

“If for some reason the people come back and they are against it, I support the school district in changing the name,” he said. “I just think education needs to be a thing, educating the public on why Parma is named what it is.”

He was referring to the process that led to the nickname being picked for the high school that included the students at Parma High, in the 1930′s, picking Redmen in honor of what they believed was the bravery and nobility of Indigenous people.

There will be 3 community forums, a survey will be sent to people that live in the district, and current students, when they return to school, will be able to voice their opinion on the future of the nickname.

If the decision is made to change the logo and nickname it will not take place for this school year as, according to Smialek, there is not enough time to make the necessary changes.

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