Mascot wars move to Vermont Legislature

By Guy Page

Both chambers of the Vermont Legislature are taking aim at school mascots or team names that depict “a racial or ethnic group, individual, custom, or tradition.”

One of the bills was submitted two days after the Rutland School Board reversed its controversial decision to abandon the traditional “Red Raiders” name and arrowhead emblem.

H641, co-sponsored by 27 House members and introduced Jan. 14, would “prohibit a public school or public postsecondary school from having or adopting a name, symbol, or image that depicts or refers to a racial or ethnic group, individual, custom, or tradition and that is used as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead, or team name of the school.”

A Senate bill introduced last April 21 by Sen. Dick McCormack (D-Windsor) features similar language. WCAX reports that up to two dozen Vermont schools might be impacted by the bill. Schools failing to comply would be banned from participating in inter-school sports for three years. 

Some supporters of Indian names say they honor the courage, hardiness and integrity often attributed to the American Indian. But McCormack doesn’t see it that way.

“It is insulting to be a mascot,” McCormack told WCAX. “The idea of an institution itself, insulting its own students and humiliating its own students, I find unacceptable.” He also questions the Randolph High “Galloping Ghost” mascot: “Where they say it’s not racist at all, it’s a galloping ghost. But it really does kind of look like a Ku Klux Klan member.”

The House bill was introduced in the midst of a bitter back-and-forth battle over whether the Rutland High School mascot/team name should remain “Red Raiders” (perceived as racist and ethnically disparaging) or be changed to “Ravens.” Feb. 9 of last year, the Rutland school board made the switch to ‘Ravens’ – despite one resident’s criticism that she found Ravens offensive from a religious point of view. 

Brittany Cavacas objected to the Ravens on the grounds of her Catholic faith, the Mountain Times reported. “A raven, in my religion, means death,” she observed. “So, for me, a raven is negative.”

But the story doesn’t end there. Angry “Red Raider” supporters lobbied the community and the board, and on Jan. 12 the board reversed itself and restored “Red Raiders” as the school mascot. 

Two days later, H641 – with Rutland Rep. William Notte (D) as lead sponsor – was introduced. Neither bill is scheduled to be discussed in committee this week. 

Categories: Legislation

16 replies »

  1. Me too, McCormick! Those “Fighting Irish” are a hell of an insult and humiliation to us Micks! Why, those school personnel out to be rounded up in paddy wagons!!!

  2. How about Red State Raiders?

    Maybe it’s just the arrowhead logo with which they object. How about a mask logo? Or a syringe logo? Or a cannabis leaf? Or a dunce hat? Or a ‘red headed’ Alfred E. Neuman caricature?

    And as for “… a galloping ghost. But it really does kind of look like a Ku Klux Klan member.”

    Oh, do they mean the KKK Exalted Cyclops moniker of former Senate Leader Robert Byrd? Or the Bull Conner, George Wallace, and Jefferson Davis types referenced recently by Biden? – Democrats all.

    I guess that eliminates Blue State Raiders as a possibility. After all, there’s nothing more historically racist in the U.S. than a Democrat.

  3. Is there really nothing more important for Legislators to concern themselves with than whether or not a mascot is politically correct ? They must be really bored.

  4. Green Mountain Union HS has been stripped of its logo but not its name. So no more pictures of a Native American profile with feathers on his head but they can still be called Chieftains. Unless the Progressive-Socialist party gets their way….

  5. Hey Dick McCormack,

    The New England Patriots would have to be renamed under your bill if they were a school team in Vermont since the American patriots who fought in the American Revolution were predominately Caucasians of European descent.

    • Yes McCormack is a complete idiot. You should see how dumb he is when it comes to climate change. Another TOTAL hypocrite who would not sign my vow I sent him to never use air travel again. All while voting for more burdensome legislation against over taxed Vermonters that doesn’t help the environment one bit! Who votes for morons like Dick McCormack?

  6. Our so called legislators need to each grab a shovel, learn how to use it without any further legislation, and start moving their compost out of the statehouse!

  7. i guess I really don’t understand. You feel having a Mascot of a courageous warrior is insulting, but a scavenger bird who eats dead carcasses off the road brings us to a higher level?? really??
    I’m not buying it. Go raiders!! (class of 76.

  8. One more fine example of too much time under the dome. These kinds of bills are merely justification of existence.

  9. The first thing I noticed was the smug, look on this senator’s face. You will find that same look on anyone’s face who operates as a control freak. Who votes for these people? They must all be alike. No help for the people from this guy. He has an agenda to follow that leads to a large cesspool, where all blue states eventually go. Great job, Vermont voters. Whoever votes for this guy and those like him are the ones responsible for the destruction of this once great, free state. I bet he’s another carpetbagger here to control us. Vote these people out, they don’t represent us, the people any more.

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