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Pascack Valley, Hills High Schools Remove Racist Mascots

Pascack Hills High School, Montvale
Pascack Hills High School, Montvale Photo Credit: Google Maps

Two Bergen County sports teams are no longer named the Cowboys and Indians.

The Pascack Valley Regional High School District Board of Education voted unanimously to remove the nicknames and logos during Monday's virtual meeting.

The teams will be assigned new names in a “thoughtful and expeditious manner," according to the PHHS student newspaper.

"This decision was in response to ongoing presentations and discussions with students, faculty, staff, and administration regarding how such mascots are not inline with the district goal of equity and inclusivity," the BOE said. 

"The Pascack Valley Regional High School District stands against racism, fostering an environment where no one is persecuted or marginalized. Our intent is to educate our district community on the mutual contributions of all races, genders, religions, and cultures accepting, respecting, and learning from one another."

Charleen Schwartzman, a PHHS math teacher who will assume the role of assistant principal position July 1, said the name "cowboys" excludes females and people of color.

A former PVHS math teacher said Indian mascots are dehumanizing and cause psychological damage to natives. Passaic, Wayne Valley and Weehawken high schools also use the "Indians" mascot.

The BOE plans on soliciting input from students, staff and community members to identify new mascots which will "promote the values of the Pascack Valley Regional High School District," the Board said.

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