What should have been a moment of sheer celebration and joy for middle schooler Korissa Gozdziak was marred by the actions of some so-called adults in the Lancaster School District bent on maintaining a racial slur.
After months of controversy surrounding the school district’s Redskins nickname and mascot, the School Board unanimously voted out the derogatory symbolism and the other night unanimously voted in the Lancaster Legends, the brainchild of Korissa, an eighth-grader whose story of how she came up with the idea was recently featured in The News.
She was overjoyed and deserving of the honors. Korissa’s work was the overwhelming choice in a student contest to choose a new mascot design. The board unanimously voted in the Legends, which features a knight’s suit of armor and sword in the district’s red and black colors accented with gray.
Audience members offered huge applause. Some were on their feet. But this proud moment for the student and her family quickly became tainted as they moved to the front of the room.
About a dozen extremely immature audience members who refuse to give up the fight to keep the Redskins moniker did something deplorable: They turned their backs on this innocent little girl and her family. Shame on them, and particularly on the man who shouted out, “Heil, Hitler!” to the board president.
Not everyone in the audience demonstrated such despicable behavior. Some remained respectful during the meeting as board member-elect and staunch Redskins supporter Brenda Christopher earlier advised during an impromptu gathering of her supporters. Others took an already bad situation and made it even worse after Korissa and her family left the meeting by being disruptive and lambasting board members.
The Redskins nickname has been retired in many other high schools and colleges, which recognized that times have changed. What was once acceptable is no longer.
There is nothing wrong with reasonable discourse on an issue of great community concern. But the example some in the community have set with name calling and threats to vote down the budget is not reasonable. All in an effort to continue a tradition that insults a group of people.
Korissa and the students who turned out in big numbers to select a new mascot seem more in tune with what school spirit means. She and her peers have demonstrated a level of maturity that should be emulated by many adults.
It is time for the grown-ups to grow up.