Maryland high school bans Native American headdress worn by students during athletic events

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A headdress worn during athletic events at a Maryland high school has been banned as dueling petitions gather signatures.

The Frederick News-Post reports Linganore High School Principal Nancy Doll confirmed Wednesday that the school will not allow the headdress to be worn by students as it has been in previous years following complaints about it being offensive to Native Americans.

Petitions for and against the ban have each garnered over 1,500 signatures. As of Thursday, the petition to bring the headdress back has amassed nearly 2,000 signatures, with most coming from community members and alumni.

Students vote for an incoming senior to become the "chief" of the student section, which is called "the tribe." The leader wears the headdress for football and basketball games.

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Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com


Linganore High School principal Nancy Doll in a letter to parents wrote:

Dear Linganore Families and Community,

The LHS tradition of a student leader wearing a Native American headdress has been questioned for some time.  After careful consideration and consultation, we recently made the decision to find alternatives to wearing the headdress during our sporting events. I am aware of the passion and petitions on both sides of the issue and the emotions that arise when traditions change. When a tradition changes, in family settings and in school settings, it affords the opportunity for reflection and conversation as new traditions are created. I truly respect the history of the Linganore school community and its deep sense of pride. We will not take away from it; however, there are times when change is necessary.

Linganore High School, along with all schools in FCPS, is an educational setting that promotes an open and welcoming environment for all students. We work together as a school community to help our students achieve the goals they have set for themselves that demonstrate high achievement and success. We teach tolerance and respect for one another and focus on academics, accountability, and attitude.

To dispel a few rumors: We talked with student leaders about several alternatives that would continue the tradition of being passionate fans but would do so in a culturally respectful way. Tailgating, painting-up, and filling the air with chants of “We Believe That We Will Win” will provide excitement for our student fans as we continue the tradition of positive sportsmanship. We are Linganore Lancers.

However, actions that create divisiveness are unwarranted at school events. Therefore, I ask you to support our school and community by showing respect and support for our students and staff on the field Friday night; our football players, cheerleaders, marching band and pom squad work hard and deserve it.

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