School mascot bill approved by Legislature

By Guy Page
The Vermont House today passed S139, giving the Vermont Agency of Education oversight over the naming of public school mascots. The bill now heads to the governor for his signature.

The bill is intended to stop or prevent the use of racist or discriminatory mascots such as “Indians” or “Redskins” or the supposedly KKK-ish “Galloping Ghosts” of Randolph Union High School. It requires disputes to go before local school boards first, but if unresolved can be appealed the the Secretary of Education.

S139 received preliminary approval yesterday by a 96-47 margin. It passed on a voice vote today. Several lawmakers registered disapproval after the roll call vote.

“Once again, this body has ripped local control of – and local decision making for – education from our local communities”

– Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe)

“Leave the decision at the local level,” Democrat John Arrison of Weathersfield said. “Engage the students, the school board, and the public. Use the opportunity as a learning tool. Legislation will only widen and split the community further.”

Republican Heidi Scheuermann took a firm “local control” line.

“Once again, this body has ripped local control of – and local decision making for – education from our local communities,” the Stowe lawmaker said. “From the Montpelier-centric funding of our education to its delivery; from decisions on what curriculum to offer to what kind of cleaning products to buy; from forcing proficiency-based learning and grading onto our schools to forcing the actual elimination of school districts; this body has decided over and over again that we know better than the local officials in our communities.

“And, we have done it again today,” Scheuermann continued. “We know better than our local school boards, our local teachers, our local administrators, the parents and students of our
communities. And, damn it, if they disagree with us, then we will just force it on them.”

Essex Democrat Rey Garofano spoke strongly in favor: “I voted yes because as a mother of a Black child in our public schools I have first-hand knowledge of racism in our schools. This bill takes an important step in ensuring my daughter, who has experienced racism in every school she has attended, will feel safer and protected in our public schools.”

Rep. Dave Yacovone (D-Morristown) noted what he said is inconsistency in the ‘local control’ argument: “This is a serious issue. Yet, I found myself sitting in amusement during the
discussion. Some of those same champions of local control who plead with us to let the locals rule are the same people who recoil at charter changes despite overwhelming local support. Madam Speaker, our inconsistencies define us.”

The roll call is as follows:
Garofano of Essex Yea*
Yacovone of Morristown Yea*
Ancel of Calais Yea
Anthony of Barre City Yea
Austin of Colchester Yea
Bartholomew of Hartland Yea
Birong of Vergennes Yea
Black of Essex Yea
Bluemle of Burlington Yea
Bock of Chester Yea
Bongartz of Manchester Yea
Bos-Lun of Westminster Yea
Brady of Williston Yea
Briglin of Thetford Yea
Brown of Richmond Yea
Brownell of Pownal Yea
Brumsted of Shelburne Yea
Burke of Brattleboro Yea
Burrows of West Windsor Yea
Campbell of St. Johnsbury Yea
Chase of Colchester Yea
Christie of Hartford Yea
Cina of Burlington Yea
Coffey of Guilford Yea
Colburn of Burlington Yea
Colston of Winooski Yea
Conlon of Cornwall Yea
Copeland Hanzas of Bradford Yea
Corcoran of Bennington Yea
Cordes of Lincoln Yea
Dolan of Essex Yea
Dolan of Waitsfield Yea
Donahue of Northfield Yea
Donnally of Hyde Park Yea
Durfee of Shaftsbury Yea
Elder of Starksboro Yea
Emmons of Springfield Yea
Gannon of Wilmington Yea
Goldman of Rockingham Yea
Grad of Moretown Yea
Hooper of Burlington Yea
Hooper of Randolph Yea
Houghton of Essex Yea
Howard of Rutland City Yea
James of Manchester Yea
Jerome of Brandon Yea
Kascenska of Burke Yea
Killacky of South Burlington Yea
Kimbell of Woodstock Yea
Kornheiser of Brattleboro Yea
LaLonde of South Burlington Yea
Lanpher of Vergennes Yea
Lippert of Hinesburg Yea
Long of Newfane Yea
Masland of Thetford Yea
McCarthy of St. Albans City Yea
McCormack of Burlington Yea
McCullough of Williston Yea
Mrowicki of Putney Yea
Mulvaney-Stanak of Burlington Yea
Nicoll of Ludlow Yea
Nigro of Bennington Yea
Notte of Rutland City Yea
Noyes of Wolcott Yea
O’Brien of Tunbridge Yea
Ode of Burlington Yea
Pajala of Londonderry Yea
Patt of Worcester Yea
Pearl of Danville Yea
Pugh of South Burlington Yea
Rachelson of Burlington Yea
Rogers of Waterville Yea
Satcowitz of Randolph Yea
Scheu of Middlebury Yea
Sheldon of Middlebury Yea
Sibilia of Dover Yea
Sims of Craftsbury Yea
Small of Winooski Yea
Squirrell of Underhill Yea
Stebbins of Burlington Yea
Stevens of Waterbury Yea
Sullivan of Dorset Yea
Surprenant of Barnard Yea
Taylor of Colchester Yea
Till of Jericho Yea
Toleno of Brattleboro Yea
Townsend of South Burlington Yea
Troiano of Stannard Yea
Vyhovsky of Essex Yea
Walz of Barre City Yea
Webb of Shelburne Yea
White of Bethel Yea
White of Hartford Yea
Whitman of Bennington Yea
Wood of Waterbury Yea
Yantachka of Charlotte Yea
Krowinski of Burlington Not Voting
Arrison of Weathersfield Nay*
Scheuermann of Stowe Nay*
Achey of Middletown Springs Nay
Beck of St. Johnsbury Nay
Brennan of Colchester Nay
Burditt of West Rutland Nay
Canfield of Fair Haven Nay
Cupoli of Rutland City Nay
Dickinson of St. Albans Town Nay
Feltus of Lyndon Nay
Goslant of Northfield Nay
Graham of Williamstown Nay
Gregoire of Fairfield Nay
Hango of Berkshire Nay
Harrison of Chittenden Nay
Helm of Fair Haven Nay
Higley of Lowell Nay
Labor of Morgan Nay
LaClair of Barre Town Nay
Laroche of Franklin Nay
Lefebvre of Newark Nay
Lefebvre of Orange Nay
Leffler of Enosburgh Nay
Marcotte of Coventry Nay
Martel of Waterford Nay
Mattos of Milton Nay
McCoy of Poultney Nay
McFaun of Barre Town Nay
Morgan of Milton Nay
Morgan of Milton Nay
Morris of Springfield Nay
Morrissey of Bennington Nay
Murphy of Fairfax Nay
Norris of Sheldon Nay
Norris of Shoreham Nay
Page of Newport City Nay
Palasik of Milton Nay
Parsons of Newbury Nay
Peterson of Clarendon Nay
Rosenquist of Georgia Nay
Shaw of Pittsford Nay
Smith of Derby Nay
Strong of Albany Nay
Terenzini of Rutland Town Nay
Toof of St. Albans Town Nay
Walker of Swanton Nay
Williams of Granby Nay
Fagan of Rutland City Absent
Hooper of Montpelier Absent
Jessup of Middlesex Absent
Kitzmiller of Montpelier Absent
Partridge of Windham Absent
Smith of New Haven Absent

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29 replies »

  1. Who will interpret what is or isn’t acceptable? This is absurd. “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
    “Galloping Ghosts” is racist because it reminds some people of the KKK. Norse symbols are “Nazi” symbols because some White Supremacists use them? Where does it end?!

    • It NEVER ends. This is why we live in a “democracy” – or so we once believed.

      • We do live in a democracy. The problem is that our 180 elected legislative officials (30 in the Senate & 150 in the House) think they are smarter than all of the other 640,000 people who live in Vermont…….Thus, they believe that they must take all decision making away from the people and move it to Montpelier where they believe truth and wisdom reside.

        An appropriate metaphor for the malfunctioning and attitude of the legislature is Senator Mark McDonald’s recent comment related to the clean heat standard of ” If they’re cold let them get a blanket”…….This statement is an ugly comment of what our legislature thinks of the people……Pretty sad.

  2. Y U some sick, Commie freaks, Fascists.

    Hey kidz……The FACT of the matter is, despite your grand delusions, NO ONE is “in control” of anything. God is. And some of us are in a tad more trouble the Creator than others…no namin’ names, but the ones who voted “Yea” – or as they likely yelled “Yay”, might be’s them.

    In reality, you have NO clue whether you will be in control of your bladders tomorrow, frankly. I mean, after all, you are no longer in control of your faculties’ now.

  3. Goodness, there are only so many acceptable mascot names out there to those voting to take control of naming Vermont schools’ mascots–like the Burlington “Snowflakes” and the Brattleboro “Cupcakes.” Oh, and the Montpelier “Fruitcakes”…

    • Let’s get started on this!!!

      Milton Yellow Jackets – Dangerous pests. Gotta go. Replace with Ladybugs.

      Essex Junction Hornets. Ditto. The leader of Equity in Education needs a fitting mascot. How about the Equalizers!

      Harwood Highlanders – Off-key appropriation of Scottish heritage. Must go. The Valley likes money. Replace with Presidents.

      U-32 Raiders – Uggh. This is suburban Montpelier, so replacement with Rainbows would work well.

      Northfield Marauders – Very militarist. Replace with Pacifists.

      Burr and Burton Bulldogs – Isn’t this breed popular among southern gentry? Oooh. See y’all later. A Replace with Beagles.

      Mt. Anthony Patriots – Readily brings to mind MAGA world. Replace with Liberators.

      Otter Valley Otters – An exemplar for others. Think of what could be! Saint Johnsbury Saints. Richford Richfords. Fair Haven Havens. People’s Academy People. Etc.

      Thetford Academy Panthers – Perfect.

  4. Unfunded mandate from Montpelier? Shocker. Sen. McCormick needs to return as well 78 it’s time

  5. I want Rep. Notte, Rutland City or any person under the Dome to tell me what is racist about Raider, anyone of them? Further, this is a local issue and should be left up to the residents in the local communities not the big bad legislature! More overreach by the Democratic leadership.
    Gregory Thayer, Candidate for Vermont LT Governor


    • There is an old tendency that has become rampant in these times. Label something and then proceed according to the labels, regardless of how arbitrary is the labeling. E.g.: “gender dysphoric” children need to be drugged. “Galloping Ghosts” is “racist” and shouldn’t be allowed. It ends in fascism, totalitarianism.

    • Those unenlightened people in Vermont, especially in Rutland, who don’t bother to research anything before casting aspirations upon it, I would like to offer this:

      Major General Merritt Austin Edson, Sr. (April 25, 1897 – August 14, 1955), known as “Red Mike”, was a general in the United States Marine Corps. Among the decorations he received were the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, the Silver Star, and two Legions of Merit. He is best known by Marines for the defense of Lunga Ridge during the Guadalcanal Campaign in World War II.

      They were men who answered the call when our nation was in desperate need and whose tenacity turned the tide in the Pacific,” said Col. David Edson, branch head for Reserve Affairs Policy and grandson of Maj. Gen. Merritt “Red Mike” Edson.
      Then-Lt. Col. Merritt Edson took command of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment on June 7, 1941. The unit was redesignated as “1st Marine Raider Battalion” on February 16, 1942. They were known as “Edson’s Red Raiders.” Edson was promoted to Colonel en route to the Pacific and led his men in battle on Tulagi and Guadalcanal.

      He received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marines in October 1917, and served in France and Germany in World War I. After the war he held several positions until going to flight school in 1922. After graduating flight school and being designated a Naval Aviator, he performed several assignments in Central America and China. It was in Central America where he received his first Navy Cross and the Nicaraguan Medal of Merit with Silver Star.
      When World War II started Edson was sent as the commanding officer of the Marine Raiders and earned his second Navy Cross on Tulagi. When his unit was sent to fight on Guadalcanal, Edson led his men in fighting for which he would later receive the Medal of Honor.

      Merritt Austin Edson, “Red Mike, ” was born in Rutland, Vermont , and raised in Chester, Vermont. To the men who served beside “Red Mike” from Rutland, Vermont, during World War II in the Pacific, it was an honor to be a “Red Raider.” It should still be an honor to be a “Red Raider’ in Rutland…

  6. Rep. Dave Yacovone (D-Morristown) noted what he said is inconsistency in the ‘local control’ argument: “This is a serious issue. Yet, I found myself sitting in amusement during the
    discussion. Some of those same champions of local control who plead with us to let the locals rule are the same people who recoil at charter changes despite overwhelming local support. Madam Speaker, our inconsistencies define us.”. Well Dave if you can’t understand the difference then maybe it’s your time as well to head out

    • Maybe he should weigh in the outside PAC money from out of state that influences our votes. In the case of the horrible prostitution vote, mis-information post cards paid for by lobbists from out of state were sent to every voter before locals with brains could even get money and organization together to firght the mis-information before the voting began. We got some out but very late and had to be delivered door to door. No contest. Then, of course, out of state indoctrinated students get to vote for permanent local changes that will affect us for years, even though they are here for only four THAT is why we need the local charters changes denied. It ends up being non-local lobbiests and their lies with too much control. So non local either way Mr. Yacovone.

  7. Someone should sue under the Constitution and ask for both injunctive relief and legal fees. That is necessary in order to curb the encroachments on civil liberties.

  8. Rep. Scheuermann is a real warrior for us Republicans. Thank goodness she’s on our side

  9. In the article above is a list of those in favor of totalitarian rule and those that still believe in a government run by and for the people. Which side are you on?

  10. A perspective from our geographic and ideologic right… NH’s GraniteGrok.

    “When you know better, you just do, and failing to use that power is an injustice. It is your job to tell everyone else what everything is, or means, what they should do, and how to do it. Even what to say and not. And the more Democrats there are in your government, the more it thinks this way.

    Vermont, conveniently to both my geographic and ideological left, is increasingly that. A place where freedoms are eroded by the abrasive politics of social justice and the mendacious gods of equity and inclusion.”


    • It amounts to a control over language. Over some months now, on a disability discussion line, there has been a debate about language. How disabled people should or shouldn’t refer to themselves. The feelings of individuals, the nuances of situation and communication don’t matter. Some individuals preach that we must use the language which they dictate. The woke people who’ve taken over the organization ended the discussion after those voices who favored free speech wouldn’t give up. However they allowed the tirade to restart with their thought/speech policers opened it again.
      Never mind if it offends some of us to have our free speech curtailed.

  11. I disagree. It amounts to insecurity. The institutionalization of anything, and everything, corrupts our basis for individuality, freedom, and liberty. You’re entitled to your self-righteous indignation, as I am entitled to mine. We are all disabled to some degree. And we are all charitable to some degree in that regard. The question is, as when Marx institutionalized the phrase, ‘from each according to his ability (or disability as the case may be) to each according to his need’ (a precept common among those who are locked in the endless struggle to think well of themselves), who draws the line?

    Our Founders recognized that these decisions can only be reasonably determined as a matter of our individual, God-given, inalienable, natural, rights. I simply refuse to be offended by anyone. After all, to quote Tuco (Eli Wallach’s character in the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly), “If you’re going to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”

    • Sometimes it seems that you simply want to argue. What is your point? That there should be no team names? That language itself should be dictated? Really, what is your point?

      • Wait a minute, speaking of being argumentative, you’re the one who responded to my post when I simply passed on an article from GraniteGrok.

        And, speaking of ‘control over language’, what’s wrong with arguing?

        To reiterate, I don’t think the issue of school mascot names has anything to do with your assertion of ‘control over language’, or one’s relative ‘disabilities’. I think (my point being), that this entire issue is the result of the persistent struggle of irresponsible people to think well of themselves, at the expense of others.

        ‘Control’, of any kind, implies responsibility. And the language police, clearly, are the most irresponsible people on the planet. That they persist in telling others, not only how and when to think and speak, but what it is they are thinking when they say anything (as you just did to me), is beside the point.

        Schools should be able to use any name they choose. And parents should be able to choose the school that best meets the needs of their children. Let the free market regulate the language they use. That’s what ‘economic democracy’ is all about.

        And language is always ‘dictated’. That’s the point of language. That’s why ‘dictated language’ is in a ‘dictionary’. Use whatever words you like. And we can judge each other accordingly.

  12. I simply made the essential connection with the school mascot limitations and the broader control of language. Nor did I put any “thoughts” into your head.
    Control of language is an old, dangerous tactic.

  13. Absolute control freaks – Unreal. You could go to Vegas and bet every day that our so-called leaders are going to come up with another dumb idea that gives THEM power and hurts US and you’d win – every day.

  14. It is now 2 weeks past the deadline of Bill S.139, signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott on May 31, 2022, and a 129-year Westminster Vermont residential school for children retains its coopted and misappropriated indigenous mascot: Kurn Hattin Chiefs. The school has had the stereotyped, large, blazing, red image of a Native American in full feathered headdress as its school mascot for decades.

    It appears that little has changed since the Kurn Hattin director, in power from 1927 thru 1963, was Chairman of the Eugenics Survey of Vermont / VCCL Committee on the ‘Handicapped,’ whose zealous work, reports, and documents were submitted as legislative testimony and to Governor John Weeks (who also served as Kurn Hattin president)and are acknowledged to have led directly to Vermont’s state sponsored eugenical human sterilization law “An Act for Human Betterment by Sterilization” in 1931 — two years before Nazi Germany enacted a similar law.

    Whether Kurn Hattin Eugenics, racist and discriminatory mascots, or documented and alleged child abuse, when will New England Kurn Hattin Homes for Children be finally held responsible by Vermonters for its willful actions?

    No. 152. An act relating to nondiscriminatory school branding (S.139)

    It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

    It is the intent of the General Assembly to ensure that all Vermont schools provide positive and inclusive learning environments for all students by eliminating the use of discriminatory school branding, which undermines the educational experiences of members of all communities and perpetuates negative stereotypes. All Vermont students should feel safe and welcome while enrolled in a Vermont school.

    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.

    (2) The policy shall provide a process for an individual to file a complaint that an element of school branding is in violation of the policy with the Vermont Secretary of Education.

    Agency of Education
    Secretary of Education

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