After months of debates, Paw Paw schools have decided to keep "The Redskins" as its mascot, Wood TV 8 reports. 

Those who wanted to keep the name argued it's a tradition and not malicious. Others say the term is disrespectful and derogatory.

Following previous board meetings and heated discussions, it was decided the issue would be put to a vote February 8th.

Board members voted 4-3 to stay with the mascot.

Board Vice President Aaron Mitchell said,

“To those who have called the Paw Paw community — including myself — racists, bigots, white supremacists for far too long. This idea that we have institutional racism within Paw Paw Public Schools is absolutely ridiculous."

According to Wood TV 8, there was a larger police presence at Wednesday night's meeting than at previous. Officers from Van Buren Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police and tribal police were present.

Paw Paw's decision differs from that of  Belding Schools, who in December voted unanimously to change their mascot from "The Redskins".

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