School Board to Hold Special Meeting to Discuss and Hear Comments on Mascot
July 9, 2020
Dear Radnor Community,
Over the years, public conversations have taken place about the history and appropriateness of Radnor High School’s team name and mascot, the Radnor Raiders. Concerns were primarily raised over Radnor’s association of Native American imagery with the name. In the last few weeks, these conversations have been renewed and amplified through social media, email, and letters to the district.
We have heard a range of opinions from community members and value your feedback and perspectives. While we are currently focused on safely re-opening our schools in the midst of a complex and unprecedented Covid-19 environment, our School Board and administration are committed to discussing this topic and hearing from our community.
We are planning a Special Board meeting on Tuesday, August 4, at 7 p.m. so the Board can hear community comments on this topic. At the conclusion of public comment, the Board will discuss next steps involved in this important conversation.
The meeting on August 4 will be held over Zoom and streamed live via the district's YouTube channel here. We welcome all views and perspectives on this topic to be submitted here by August 3 at 12 p.m.
In preparation for the August 4 meeting, we would like to provide some background regarding the team name and mascot, as well as current Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives throughout Radnor Township School District.
Recent Developments Concerning the “Radnor Raiders”
In June 2013, the district formally announced the “retirement” of the costumed “Raiders” mascot, an exaggerated Native American caricature who, as recently as 2011, roamed the sidelines at Radnor High School football games. You can read the district's official announcement regarding this development here. More recently, articles and opinion pieces published by the RHS student newspaper, “The Radnorite,” explored the name issue, its influence, and some traditions, such as the “tomahawk chop” at athletic events (click here and here).
“Raiders” or “Red Raiders”
Throughout these discussions and critiques there has been general confusion on whether Radnor’s mascot/name is the “Raiders” or the “Red Raiders.” The current name is the “Raiders.” It is believed that “Red Raiders” originated in newspaper offices. Local sports coverage sought to distinguish Ridley Raiders (green uniforms) from Radnor Raiders (red uniforms). Over time, the nomenclature stuck so soundly that the “red” in the name made its way onto certain items associated with RHS athletic teams and in references of the team by community members.
Moving Forward With Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
At the June 16 School Board Curriculum Committee meeting, a presentation was provided by administrators from each RTSD school to review that school’s DEI efforts. These efforts and initiatives have been underway for several years, and were recounted to reaffirm the district’s commitment to bolstering this work for the future. New goals for the DEI efforts were announced, as were “four pillars” that the district will focus on to provide a foundation for accomplishing these goals.
As always, thank you for your support of our schools.
Ken and Susan
Kenneth E. Batchelor
Superintendent of Schools
School Board President