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Rutland School mascot voted back to ‘Raiders’

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:10 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 6:46 PM EST
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - After more than a year of controversy over changing of the Rutland High School mascot name, the Rutland City Public School’s Board of Commissioners Tuesday voted to return to the old Raiders name again.

The board retired the mascot and arrowhead logo last year after deeming it offensive and hurtful to indigenous people. But the action sparked controversy in the community and months of feuding.

The board met for hours Tuesday night, resulting in a 6 to 5 vote to change the name back. “To discontinue the Raven name and adopt the Raiders name” said Commissioner Tricia O’Connor.

O’Connor asked to add the vote as a new business action item. A debate between the commissioners questioned if it was possible to add an item to the agenda and if a two-thirds vote would be needed. “This is the democratic process. I’m not sure why you’re against that if the majority of the board would like to put something on the agenda for majority vote,” said Commissioner Charlene Seward.

Others questioned why the name change was even being brought up again. “What’s the end game here?” said Commissioner Dena Goldberg. “Come March, we have a board come up, are we going to go through, this every season like a seasonal item?”

Eventually, in a 6 to 5 rollcall vote, the moniker vote was added as a new item to the agenda. “I will break the tie to put it on the agenda and points of order can be discussed when it hits that part,” said Board Chair Hurley Cavacas.

Commissioner Stephanie Stoodley said all commissioners need to show students how adults conduct themselves. “We are an embarrassment to our community, so as a board, it is time to step up and do what we are asked to do as elected officials,” she said.

During public comment, Karen Bossi said that the mascot issue was why she took such an interest in the board. “If this board cannot make a decision -- which it seems it cannot -- this should be put on the ballot as a ballot item and let the taxpayers decide.”

When it came time to vote, Kevin Keifaber brought up how the Raiders name has ties to racism, how the decision could impact Rutland economically, and how students expressed they did not feel welcome with the former mascot. “To go back to the Raider name is saying those students don’t matter and that is not a good thing to do as a board,” he said

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