The ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Sloane Wolfe, a high school student who has been advocating to end her school district’s use of its “Raider” mascot based on its stereotypical depiction of North American indigenous people. The lawsuit claims that Twin Valley School District’s refusal to recognize a student club devoted to ending the use of the mascot and raising awareness about indigenous culture violates Sloane’s rights under the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act to use school facilities on the same basis as other student-led groups.
For three years, Sloane, her older sister, and other students in the Twin Valley School District have attempted to establish an official school club to “Retire the Raider.” Official school club recognition would allow Retire the Raider to meet during the school day, be featured on the school district’s website, and post flyers in school hallways.
Administrators have refused to grant Retire the Raider official recognition because the students have been unable to find a teacher willing to serve as the club’s advisor. The lawsuit alleges that school administrators actively discouraged teachers from working with the club because many in the community oppose the club’s efforts to change the mascot.