By Danielle Tepper, Special to the Home News
At face value, the moniker Konkrete Kids looks harmless enough. With a rich history in the cement industry, the Northampton Area School District has been churning out generations of proud Kids since the 1930s. But when an online petition started spreading across the internet last week, the term suddenly took on an ugly connotation and speculation began circulating about its possible hidden connection to the infamous Ku Klux Klan (or KKK).
Terrance Jackson of Bath is a father of two Konkrete Kids himself, but he found himself unable to contain his objections any longer when he began a petition on Change.org, demanding that Governor Tom Corbett “Change the moniker/mascot of KonKreteKids.” Read it below:
“This area is well known for its rich ties with the K.K.K. As time moves on, so does the change and shift in the present and in our future. An educational system should not have a mascot name formed from the K.K.K. nor should it be so obviously placed in the misspelling of concrete. This is a time where many nationalities share in their learning experience and receive graduate honors. I think that it is terrible that the pride of the graduating students as well as students attending are disgraced with such a thing. The name should be changed to something that every student can be proud to claim as their school.”
At present, the petition has gained almost 3,000 supporters.
The comment section is an explosion of anti-racism support from Pennsylvanians across the state contrasted with indignant Lehigh Valley residents who say Jackson is just fishing for controversy. By slightly altering the name himself (Konkrete Kids vs. KonKreteKids), he’s simply fueling the fire, they say. Besides, using the ‘K’ is simply the German way of spelling it … right?
The debate came to a head at last night’s Northampton Area School Board meeting, where administrators and residents alike came out to express their opinions.
“I find the reference to the KKK offensive as a [school] superintendent and resident of our district due to the fact that I know our history,” Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik told The Morning Call.
“The Konkrete Kids, the way it’s spelled, the way we spell it, is derived from the German heritage. That’s where it really kind of came from,” Kovalchik told FOX 29. “And it has nothing to do with anything about things we don’t believe in […] I don’t see it being changed.”
Fortunately, Jackson “isn’t planning on a long, laborious fight,” according to MY65. “[He] says that even if the district refuses a change, he’ll live with that.”