NEWINGTON – Almost a year after retiring, the former Board of Education chairman is bringing an issue to the board’s attention he believes is long overdue.
School alum Joshua Shulman is calling for Newington High School to change its mascot, the Indians.
“NHS has already moved away from using the logo depicting a Native American. It’s time to end the use of ‘Indians’ as a mascot for good,” Shulman wrote in a letter to the Newington Town Crier and other local media this week. “Our mascot is a people. Our mascot subjugates an entire population. It’s wrong and it needs to change.”
The 31-year-old attorney served on the BOE from 2011 to 2019, as chairman the last two years. While proud of accomplishments the all-volunteer body made during that time, Shulman departed with one item of business on his conscience.
“During my time as chair I could have and should have brought this issue to the table,” Shulman said. “I did not want another issue to distract from other goals. I was wrong. Doing the right thing is never a distraction.”
Since leaving the board he and his wife had a son, Ezra, now nine months old.
“I feel now more than ever that it’s important to set a good example when something’s not right,” Shulman said Monday. “It doesn’t matter if it causes a controversy, if people get upset or if it takes a lot of work. I hope as my son grows up he knows that doing the right thing isn’t always easy. I took the easy route and I want to fix my mistake.”
He is not the only local resident to raise this issue.
NHS boys volleyball coach Curt Burns shared his dislike of the symbol with the New Britain Herald back in April of this year. Burns said he hopes to see Newington follow in the footsteps of other towns that have done away with potentially offensive names.
“I would like to see it changed,” he told the Herald. “I’ve never been in favor of it. There’s so many of them in Connecticut, but they’re falling by the wayside, which is a good thing.”
The BOE was notified and expected to discuss the issue at its virtual meeting Monday night.
“I know they’re thinking about it,” Shulman said. “The time to do it is now.”
Check for updates in the Herald and Town Crier.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.