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District: Northampton mascot not a front for KKK

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 10 2013 06:08:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 11 2013 06:55:12 AM CDT

The Konkrete Kids is a name synonymous with Northampton Borough and the area's rich cement past.

NORTHAMPTON, Pa. -

The Konkrete Kids is a name synonymous with Northampton Borough and the area's rich cement past.

But one man says the message is much more sinister and he's started a campaign to change it.

"This is the site of the secondary campus," said Northampton Area School District Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik, as he showed off an old Atlas Cement company map where the high school now sits.

"So literally kids who go to school here are the Konkrete Kids?" 69 News asked him.
"Yes," he said.

That name -- the Konkrete Kids-- may be a source of pride for the district but online, Bath resident Terrance Jackson, calls it racist. He says the district's nickname "Konkrete Kids, spelled with three K's, is a reference to the Ku Klux Klan."

Jackson started an online petition to change the name.

"I'm offended as a Superintendent and a lifelong resident of the school district because at no time has the district ever affiliated itself with the KKK," Kovalchik said.

Jackson's petition, which capitalizes each K, has close to 3,000 signatures. It claims Northampton is a well known Klan area and criticizes the district for misspelling concrete.

"This Konkrete Kids, the reason why they spelled with a K?" 69 News asked local historian Ed Pany. "Because we use the German spelling," he said.

Paney started and still runs the Atlas Museum in Northampton. He says the spelling dates back to the 1920's, when the area had a large influx of German immigrants. The name then reaffirmed during the great depression, as a local football team used concrete company's cloth bags to carry equipment.

"When they came off the field the fans would say those boys come from a dusty town they are Konkrete Kids," Pany said.

When we tried to reach Jackson, he wasn't home, but his wife was.

"We are just trying to figure out why you came to this conclusion. Did you look into how Konkrete Kids got it's name, or anything like that?" 69 News asked her.
She didn't reply and went back into her home.

The district said Jackson never reached out to them. No matter his claims, Kovalchik says the name and spelling of the Konkrete Kids is set in stone.