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Parma Senior High School to keep Redmen name and logo

"I cannot in good conscience argue that changing the Redmen is our community's preference at this time."

PARMA, Ohio — Editor's Note: The above video is from 3News' A Turning Point series on Native American sports nicknames

After more than two years of discussions with community members, students, and staff, Parma Senior High School will continue to use the Redmen name and logo. 

In an email statement to 3News, Parma City School Superintendent Dr. Charles Smialek said that sentiment in the community was largely split. "Those who completed our survey strongly opposed a change, while those who attended our open meetings indicated their desire for a new nickname and logo. 

Smialek says he met with three separate groups of student leaders at Parma Senior High School and noted that their desire to keep the logo was "clear and well reasoned. "They feel that the Redmen logo symbolizes core values of strength, honor, and courage," he added. 

"Ultimately, school districts represent and serve their communities. I cannot in good conscience argue that changing the Redmen is our community's preference at this time," Smialek stated.

The district first looked at a possible name and logo change for Parma Senior High School in the summer of 2020 amid the calls for racial justice following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers. Community members raised red flags about the mascot during a school board meeting one month after Floyd's death. 

“We want to get consensus, we want to hear from both sides,” Smialek told 3News in July 2020. “We’re really trying to consider all perspectives.” (You can watch Lynna Lai's report on the district's inital move to consider a change below.) 

The National Congress of American Indians reports Ohio has the most schools with Native American mascots of any state. Research from the Ohio High School Athletic Association shows that includes 78 high schools.

You can read Parma City School Superintendent Dr. Charles Smialek's complete statement to 3News below:

"After engaging community members, staff, and students in a variety of fora since the summer of 2020, we are not changing our Parma Senior High Redmen name and logo at this time. Community sentiment largely split: those who completed our survey strongly opposed a change, while those who attended our open meetings indicated their desire for a new nickname and logo. This year, I met with three separate groups of student leaders at Parma Senior. Their desire to retain the logo was clear and well-reasoned. They feel that the Redmen logo symbolizes core values of strength, honor, and courage. Ultimately, school districts represent and serve their communities. I cannot in good conscience argue that changing the Redmen is our community's preference at this time."

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