Radnor 'Red Raider' Mascot Retired, But Team Name Stays

Radnor 'Red Raider' Mascot Retired, But Team Name Stays

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RADNOR, Pa. -

A Main Line mascot gets the boot. At issue was cultural sensitivity.

It's an issue that's been playing out on athletic fields all over America: re-thinking team names and the mascots that go with them, when they are based on potentially insulting images of Native Americans.

Baseball's Cleveland Indians take a lot of heat on this issue. So do football's Washington Redskins.

Well, Radnor High School -- home of the Red Raiders -- has made its decision.

Sports at Radnor High School have been around for a long time.

And, for most of that time, and as recently as November of 2011, a Red Raiders mascot has prowled the sidelines, adding spirit to the big games. He's basically a student wearing an oversized head with Native American decorations.

School officials say the mascot hasn't been used much lately.

And now, thanks to a decision by the student body, it has been formally "retired."

Principal Mark Schellenger says a recent presentation on cultural sensitivity, made by a district parent, a Villanova University sociology professor, opened the students' eyes.

"There's an elusive middle ground that we're trying to find, where we want to maintain our traditions, while not being offensive to anyone. But definitely not to any particular ethnic group," remarked Schellenger.

Our conversation took place in front of a display case full of Radnor High memorabilia, including football trading cards from the 1970s, that featured a profile of a Native American in full head-dress.

Schellenger says his students thought long and hard about this issue, and decided to keep the image of a Native American on the wall that overlooks the school's main athletic field.

And Radnor will, per the students' decision, keep its team name: the Red Raiders.

The logo features the letter "R" inside a circle, with a pair of feathers trailing behind.

It suggests a Native American theme, without a cartoonish look.

"You can reference an ethnic group and celebrate them. And that's what the kids deemed we were doing and that's what we're going to continue to try and do as we move forward, is to celebrate the traits of bravery and courage," says Schellenger.

So the Native American mascot, which had only rarely been used of late, is officially retired.

But the image on the school and the Red Raiders team name remain in place.

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