Confusion over Rutland school mascot meeting sparks more controversy

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 9:29 AM EDT
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RUTLAND CITY, Vt. (WCAX) - Some people in Rutland City were left upset Tuesday night after they missed their chance to sound off on the school mascot debate.

Last fall, the Rutland City Board of School Commissioners voted to change the Raiders mascot and logo to the Ravens. Some protested, saying they didn’t get to have a say, so a committee was created to deal with the issue. An in-person public meeting was scheduled for Tuesday but confusion over the timing sparked even more controversy.

When I arrived, the meeting had already ended. There were about a dozen people standing outside the Longfellow building. Some people were confused because they, just like myself had thought it was going to start at 6:30 p.m.

“I got the wrong time for the meeting. I was sent an email that said it started at 6:30, apparently, it started at 5:30, so I missed the meeting,” said Lori Arner of Rutland City.

Arner was one of about 20 people who registered to speak Tuesday night.

“We did have close to a dozen speak,” said Stephanie Stoodley, a Rutland City School Board Commissioner. “It was a meeting of the full board as a forum to listen to community members, in person, to discuss the Raiders versus Ravens issue.”

On the school board’s website, it says all meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. But through another link to the specific meeting, it says 5:30 p.m.

“A number of people have driven into this parking lot looking to attend the meeting and didn’t get a chance to,” said Ric Reardon of Rutland City.

Reardon was one community members who shared his opinions at the meeting.

“I actually made a call yesterday to double-check because I couldn’t find the Zoom link and that’s when I found out it was actually a face-to-face meeting. And then I asked what time, I said 6:30, and the person said, no actually 5:30,” Reardon said.

Reardon isn’t the only one who thinks it’s unfair some missed their chance because of misinformation.

“I think that’s a huge issue,” said Giovani Falco of Rutland City.

Falco is a new Rutland High School grad on the district equity committee. He says this is an issue the committee discusses.

“That’s a good example of one of the problems we face as a school community-- miscommunication,” he said. “It happens more often than not actually.”

A commissioner told me the next school board meeting is scheduled for this fall. At this time it is unknown if people who missed their opportunity to speak will be given a second chance.

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