School board approves ‘Rutland Ravens’ name change

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 12:43 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 4:46 AM EST
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The Rutland Raiders are now the Rutland Ravens after a 6-4 vote at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The change comes after months of public outcry and debate over the Raiders mascot, which some say is offensive to Native Americans.

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, some board members were not fond of considering the new name option. The board went back and forth between whether a raven could also be offensive to some groups of people.

“A raven in my religion means death. I’m a Catholic, so for me, a raven is negative,” said Brittany Cavacas.

Some argued the new mascot can be considered just as offensive to Native Americans as the former one.

“I’m not quite sure if we’re being hypocrites by looking at another symbol used in Native American culture and that we’re jumping onto another one,” said Hurley Cavacas.

Principal Greg Schillinger defended the work the students had done to research each of the 10 mascot options and consider the negative connotations associated with them. He said the group did their due diligence in finding every option had at least one component that someone could argue as being offensive.

“Everything from Rangers to Royals. The concern with Royals being about class structure,” Schillinger said. “There’s a myth that’s associated with almost every animal or natural phenomenon.”

Rutland City students in grades 3-12 voted on the new mascot last week. Fifty-seven percent voted in favor of the Ravens. The runner-up was the Royals.

Now that the Ravens name has been approved, the next step is to plan the new logo.

Some people in the community have previously said they will fight to overturn the name change and they’re pushing to elect officials to the school board on Town Meeting Day to reverse the decision.

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