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Amid Growing Calls For Equality And Inclusivity, Some New Jersey High Schools To Change Mascots

HILLSDALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- As Confederate monuments and statues have been brought down across the country, so, too, have some school mascots.

On Thursday, CBS2's Nick Caloway learned more about efforts to change mascots at some New Jersey schools.

"That's the name that we play for," was the reaction to a YouTube video from some students and alumni of Pascack Hills High School in Montvale after they learned the school's mascot, the Cowboy, would be changed.

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The Pascack Valley Regional District High School Board of Education voted earlier in the week to drop the Cowboy mascot from Pascack Hills and drop the mascot of Pascack Valley High in Hillsdale, the Indian.

The board said the mascots are not in line with the district's goal of equality and inclusivity.

Some students and alumni oppose the change.

"I think that the decision is wrong. I think it's crazy, and I think it's also divisive," said Erik Friis, who graduated from Pascack Hills in 1979.

But plenty of current and former students of the two schools support the move to change mascots.

"I'm totally for it. I'll forever be an Indian. I went there, and that's what it was, but I understand the significance of the change, the importance of the change," said Josh Ulin, a member of Pascack Valley's Class of 2018.

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In neighboring Passaic County, nearly 3,000 people have signed a petition to drop the Indian mascot at Wayne Valley High School.

Amanda Kiel started that petition. She said the use of the Indian mascot is stereotyping and exploits Native American culture.

"Student dissatisfaction with the mascot is in no way a new problem, and since I've been a student here I've known that it needed to be changed," Kiel said.

In Monmouth County, the mascot for Howell High School is the Rebel, depicted as a white-haired Confederate soldier. There's a petition to change that mascot, too.

Instead, the school district said the name Rebel will stay, but the appearance of the mascot will change.

Back at Pascack Valley High School, some said if ever there was a time to drop the Indian mascot, this is it.

"To me, this just seems like it's the perfect time, especially with everything that's been happening. And I'm proud of the people who stepped up and made the change," Ulin said.

As for what the mascots at Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley will be next, the board of education said it will get input from students, staff, and the community before that decision is made.

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