MANASQUAN — This borough is the latest New Jersey community being pressured to change a Native American-inspired public school mascot, while a counter campaign to "stop erasing history" also has popped up online.

The Manasquan public school district — with its elementary and high school — collectively is known as "Home of the Warriors," according to the district website. A Native American figure wearing a ceremonial headdress is used as the mascot logo as seen on the school websites and district social media pages.

Manasquan High School has been urged to stop using what is called "the antiquated school mascot and slogan" and instead replace it with one that does not evoke racial imagery, according to a petition at Change.org titled "Manasquan High School Alumni for Enlightenment," citing a letter from Emmy Montgomery, of the MHS Class of 2013. The petition goes on to also call for a more comprehensive curriculum addressing "systematic racism in America, gender equality studies, and LGBTQ+ studies."

In response, Emily Duerr started a petition titled "Manasquan High Schools mascot STAYS!!!," which says it would be "terrible" to get rid of the historic symbol. "It is not like the name ‘Redskins’ it is the WARRIORS which is positive," the counter-petition said.

Cultural experts, including the Council of the American Sociological Association, have argued that the use of nicknames, logos and mascots in sports are not an appropriate ways of honoring Native Americans.

As of Tuesday evening, the petition to keep the Manasquan mascot had been signed nearly 3,000 times, while the petition to change it while also adopting an inclusive curriculum and no-tolerance policy toward racism, sexism, and homophobia had nearly 1,000 signatures.

Earlier this month in Ocean County, Toms River Regional Schools were petitioned "to retire all racially insensitive mascots depicting indigenous Americans, including the Toms River High School South 'Indians', Toms River Intermediate School South 'Seminoles,' and Washington Street Elementary School 'Warriors,'" according to a Change.org petition started by "Alumni of TR Schools."

In June, a North Jersey school was urged to reconsider its "Indians" mascot in the Wayne public district.

A few weeks later, Pascack Valley Regional High School District Board of Education voted to change the names of their two high school teams, the Pascack Hill Cowboys and Pascack Valley Indians.

As of two years ago, there were two dozen New Jersey schools using Native American inspired mascots, logos or team names, according to analysis by MyCentralJersey.com.

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