Following this week's announcement that the NFL's Washington, DC franchise will change its name from the "Redskins" after nearly 90 years, efforts are spreading to encourage local sports teams to take similar steps.

Over the weekend, a petition asking the Toms River Regional Schools to change a number of the district's team nicknames was started, and had already registered hundreds of signatures.

The Change.org petition identifies three of the school district's mascots as being insensitive to Indigenous Americans, including the Toms River South Indians, the Toms River Intermediate South Seminoles, and the Washington Street Elementary Warriors.

The petition, started by a user with the name "Alumni of TR Schools" says that the Township's schools:

...has been sending the wrong message to students, staff, and the broader community for generations through the use of these misleading and insulting stereotypes.

The petition points out the fact that other school districts in New Jersey have already made changes to their team names, including the Parsippany-Troy Hills School District, and the recent unanimous vote of the Pascack Valley High School District Board of Education to retire both the "Indians" and "Cowboys" team names.

The Toms River petition is aiming for 1,000 signatures, and already has more than 600 signatures as of this writing.

It also notes that a number of efforts have been made to change the names over the years, and that:

With many people awakening to racial injustice due to current events, now is the time to stand in solidarity, right the injustices in our own communities, and show our school pride and respect for indigenous Americans in a meaningful way that inspires future students.

You can read the full text of the petition for yourself by clicking here.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app