SILVER SPRING, Md. - The Redskins name controversy has touched down in all sorts of areas. Now it is in front of the Montgomery County school board.
A Native American parent said he wants clothing showing the team's name and mascot banned and he is using the school system’s own policy against offensive clothing as the basis for his argument.
When Jared Hautamaki took his kindergartner to Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring last month, he saw something that was out of bounds.
"We walked up to school and saw the principal in burgundy and gold,” he said.
It wasn't the colors that offended Hautamaki. But as a Native American, he said the Redskins name and logo are racial slurs and he wants them banned from Montgomery County Public Schools.
Hautamaki is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He went to Montgomery County's school board demanding that they enforce its own dress code policy that clearly states:
Students are expected to wear appropriate clothing to school. Clothing that offends others or disrupts learning inappropriate. Clothing that includes references to gangs, drugs, alcohol, and sex is not acceptable.
"The school district has a policy that says any clothing that is offensive is inappropriate for the school environment,” Hautamaki explained.
The interim school superintendent sent Hautamaki a letter referencing “Washington's football team." It explained how in 2001, Montgomery County decided to "adopt different mascots for schools that had previously used Native American imagery or logos."
But as for the debate on banning such clothes, the letter says schools will "monitor its impact.”
It turns out about 40 parents at Highland Elementary School signed their name to a testimony delivered to the Montgomery County Board of Education. They say the Redskins name is not offensive and they do not want this school policy to change.
Highland Elementary parent Vanessa Miranda spoke for the group that wants students and staff to keep the right to wear Redskins clothing.
"This is not just about the Redskins team or the word,” she said at a school board meeting. “None of us are trying to dehumanize Native Americans, but rather demonstrating our American love of football.”
But Hautamaki disagrees and said if there is a policy on offensive clothing and he is offended by it, the school system should act.
"They wouldn’t let kids come to school with a Confederate flag or a swastika on their shirt,” he argued.
A school spokesperson declined to speak on camera with us, but instead wrote an email saying they are dealing with the issue in a "respectful manner."