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Tension erupts during meeting looking into validity of ‘Raiders’ name change

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:06 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2021 at 4:49 AM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - A committee tasked with reviewing the Rutland mascot name has approved the findings of an independent report that found school officials followed correct procedures, but it came with some tension during their Thursday night’s meeting.

The Rutland school mascot was a Raider, but it was recently changed to a Raven. Four members of an ad hoc committee were tasked with looking into whether rules were followed during the name change and where to go from here.

“We’re just bringing recommendations, we’re not changing anything or maneuvering motions,” said Dena Goldberg, the committee’s chair.

Even though the committee was not formed to make a final decision on the mascot, there was still some confusion.

“The way I understand it, my recommendation would be to accept the findings of this report and move forward with the mascot as it stands as the Ravens,” said Ann Dages, a committee member.

The committee ultimately approved a motion to accept an attorney’s findings that the name change was done appropriately.

But Stephanie Stoodley, a committee member, says she was upset school board commissioner Alison Notte released the attorney’s report to the public before the committee had a chance to discuss it. “Commissioner Notte felt the need to continue the practice of creating her own set of rules. At this time, I would like to ask for Commissioner Notte’s resignation effective immediately,” said Stoodley.

Goldberg told Stoodley there was nothing the committee could do at this time. That’s when Commissioner Notte rose from the audience to defend herself. “It is not just the purview of this committee, it is a purview of the public that spent $2,500, needlessly, on a witch hunt to try to say something was done wrong on my behalf,” said Notte. When it comes to open meeting laws, she said she did nothing wrong.

Chair Goldberg ended the meeting by saying people are entitled to their opinions, but a back and forth arguments would not be accepted during the meeting. “There is no value in getting into this right now,” said Goldberg.

The full school board will meet on September 28th to weigh in on the committee’s recommendation.

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