PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — The Paw Paw school board has voted to move on from the Redskins name.

In a board meeting Monday, members voted 6-1 to retire the nickname by the end of the school year. It’s a reversal from three years ago when the board voted 4-3 to keep the controversial name after months of heated debate.

Last week, superintendent Rick Reo notified the community of his intention to propose a name change once again. 

Reo was not superintendent in 2017, though two board members who voted to keep the name then ultimately reversed course and voted in favor of Reo’s resolution Monday night.

“There’s division across all groups, but the group that I’m most concerned about is the group that this board employs me to be the most concerned about — and that is the students,” Reo said during the meeting. “Our kids and their education must come first.”

Paw Paw superintendent Rick Reo speaking at the school board meeting. (March 9, 2020)

The superintendent addressed the crowd after 30 minutes of public comment, with people both for and against the Redskins name speaking before the board.

“Even the most die-hard Redskins supporters admit that this change is inevitable,” Reo said. “Eventually, we will have not choice in this matter and be forced to change. Some argue that we should continue to kick this can down the road and not budge until we have been forced to do so, but I would counter that we have an opportunity to deal with this situation on our own terms.”

Alongside motioning to remove the name, Reo also recommended a steering committee, made of students, be formed to begin the process of selecting a new nickname, which should be selected by July.