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School branding bill awaits action from Gov. Scott

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 3:46 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - As Vermont Gov. Phil Scott decides how to take action on bills from the Legislature, one already on his desk waiting for a signature or a veto is the school branding bill.

The bill aims to prohibit a public school from having a mascot that refers to a racial group, individual, custom or tradition.

If signed by the governor, the secretary of education would create a model policy on mascots by August. Then, school boards with questionable mascots would develop and look at their own policies with branding that would have to be in compliance with the state’s policy. If not, bill sponsor Sen. Dick McCormack says the thinking is they’d have to change their mascot. He says the specific policies and processes will be decided by the secretary of education.

“Just think how aggrieved some kid feels that just wants to play baseball and shows up for a game and there’s a racist flag flying, you know, making fun of him or maybe not even making fun, mascoting, you know, exploiting his or her ethnicity. I think that person has much more reason to feel aggrieved than someone who might have to change their school mascot,” said McCormack, D-Windsor County.

We know school mascots and changing them has been controversial, especially in places like Rutland. A representative from their School Board of Commissioners says they will take up new business discussing the mascot, imagery and school branding at their meeting Tuesday.

There’s no word on whether the governor plans to sign this bill into law or veto it.

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