Peterson: Mascot bill laughable, if it weren’t so sad

Randolph Union High School Galloping Ghost mascot, from 1978 yearbook cover

by Rep. Art Peterson

The much anticipated “mascot bill”, S.139, passed the House last week by a 96-47 roll call vote. The debate on this bill, which is clearly a solution looking for a problem, produced the sort of hysterical, theatrical testimony from its supporters that would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. 

Rep. Art Peterson

Claiming kids were in danger at schools with mascots that were somehow a threat (I’m guessing Raiders, Vikings, Chieftains, Galloping Ghosts, among others?), they tried to tie the mascot names to the attitudes and  actions of the students at those schools. Huh? So kids at schools with mascots of ethnic or racial origins, no matter how complementary those names might be to those particular groups, are inherently more aggressive, violent, or racist then those kids at schools with nicknames of animals, say, Tigers or Eagles? That’s what I heard on the floor during debate on the bill. 

Here’s the deal, in my opinion; this has NOTHING to do with the kids, many of whom couldn’t care less who the mascot is, and all to do with radical parents. These are people who are smarter, more cultured, and more aware than the rest of us. They care more! Teachers are afraid of them, administrators roll their eyes at them, but school boards listen to them, and that’s where the problem lies. In this bill the state Department of Education will come up with a “mascot policy” which individual school boards will then have to adhere to. Here is what the bill says concerning the policy:

“The policy shall prohibit school branding that directly or indirectly references or stereotypes the likeness, features, symbols, traditions, or other characteristics that are specific to either: 

(A) the race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity of any person or group of persons; or 

(B) any person, group of persons, or organization associated with the repression of others.”

Enforcement is left to individual school boards.

I can see these same parents, holier than thou, badgering school boards, because at some point Vikings repressed somebody somewhere, Chieftains is an Indian stereotype, and Galloping Ghosts are racist, just to name a few! 

Galloping Ghosts, the Randolph High School mascot, is an interesting one. According to a recent article in Seven Days the name originate in the ’40s when Randolph basketball players in their home white uniforms were so fast and so good that they were hard to see or catch, thus galloping ghosts. Nothing racist, no Ku Klux Klan reference. Yet in last week’s debate that issue came up and it was said that the horse with a rider in a white sheet was “threatening”. Why? More threatening than a Tiger, a Bear, a Wildcat, a Cougar, a Wolf, all existing Vermont high school nicknames of dangerous wild animals that constitute a real danger? 

I think the real threat the left feels is their inability to control these logos that our communities and our schools rally around; good, strong symbols of courage, strength, power, and determination, all traits that many on the left, frankly, can’t stand. I hope school boards stand strong against the crybaby crowd that looks for problems where there are none.

Importantly, the students won’t care. They have important things, like classes, school activities, and social lives to be concerned with. As usual, the adults are the problem.

The author is a Republican member of the Vermont House of Representatives from Clarendon.

10 replies »

  1. A simple solution to this BS is to eliminate all mascots and allow only the town or school name.

    • Lester, unfortunately that invites more encroachment. The solution is to better organize people who “lean right.” This includes an awful lot of people, such as myself, who thought that we were supporting democracy, only to see so much co-opted by hidden agendas. To people such as yourself, I’d say, preach not only to the choir, as the saying goes. Try to reach the sincere people “in the middle”.
      Recall the strictures that totalitarian regimes have placed on use of language. Stalin, Mao, etc.
      I’d also like to point out that attacking the name “Red Raiders”, given its true origin, was a dangerous stricture on the traditions and understand of VT history.

    • And while we are at it, demand that ALL party labels be prohibited from ballots…makes people lazy and vote stupidly…

  2. This posting is spot on. These topic over that 5 years are non-sensical and cater to the 1/10th of 1% who like hearing their own voice and look for ways to make people see there names in some meeting notes. Rebels, Vikings, Raiders, or gerbils, bunnies, flowers…. what is next, banning competitive sports because there is a physical battle component that someone might suggest is tied to (God forbid) winners and looser in a battle?

    I kind of feel sorry for those individuals / groups who feel empowered by making policies, rules, LAWS that at the surface are titled something like “Ultimate Climate Saver” but the actual words don’t have anything to do with Climate, or are written so poorly that people are handcuffed and potentially creating costly log-jams. The ability to make a rule / law does not mean you did a good job or the result has anything to do with the title or intent. If you are in a position to make rules / laws, be smart about it… make it short, to the point, surgical in the effect intended, and direct with the boundaries of implementation.

    Our school boards, unfortunately seem to be in the crossroads of the education political agenda and the individuals that like to hear their own voice. The board ends up not focusing on the pillars of education (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, dialectic, rhetoric, and grammar). It is quite telling that our schools conveyor belt of students continue to fall further behind vs. other countries (math = 38th, science=24th.). But lets just keep focusing on the mascots that some parent doesn’t like the color of… that will be the best use of time and money to improve EDUCATION!

  3. A good example of society in collapse. It shows weakness and inability to cope with life and reality. Our government is assigning themselves as “the thought police” and that is dangerous. History shows us that in many ways.

  4. One thing that present-day Vermonters excel in is virtue signaling by finding offense in something that a casual observer fails to, to the point where it is takes on the drama of a competitive sport. Even the SevendaysVT, the standard-bearer of political correctness in VT has a dedicated and vocal gaggle of readers who are able to find offense in their reporting, opining or advertising content, and let them know how “shocked and saddened” they are as readers. I’m talking about the caliber of progressive who can come up with the “milk is racist” campaign. A proposal for state oversight of public school mascots is sure to appeal to those in the upper echelons of the culture of victimhood. Imagine being enlightened enough to discern that “Bears” is ok as a mascot because the descriptor is gender neutral whereas “Rams” is NOT OK because it is gender specific. The caricature may show curled horns on a sheep but how do we know that animal actually identifies as a male of the species and is not in fact a ewe?

Leave a Reply