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VPA Issues Directive on Nicknames and Mascots

Says names and imagery with “marginalizing, racist, or exclusionary elements” should be changed
Published: Aug. 30, 2020 at 3:53 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - For several years there has been a trend of communities across the country examining long-standing team nicknames, mascots, and imagery that some people consider offensive. From the Washington Football Team to the South Burlington Wolves, there have been a number of teams and schools that have made changes. Now high schools in the state of Vermont have received an official directive from the state’s governing body for sports and activities.

The Vermont Principals Association issued a statement Friday reading “We believe that mascots and all school symbols should support feelings of belonging and inclusivity for students in the wider community.” They went on to say “Any mascot, nickname, symbol, or logo that has marginalizing, racist or exclusionary elements should be replaced.”

Now the VPA notably did not say any of their member schools have to make any changes, and they did not name any schools in particular that should consider making changes.

In addition to South Burlington High School, which changed nicknames from the Rebels to the Wolves in 2017, a handful of other schools in our region have made changes in recent years. That includes Rice and CVU, formerly the Little Indians and Crusaders respectively, and now the Knights and Redhawks instead.

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