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School mascot changes discussed in 2 Vermont districts

October 7, 2020 GMT

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) —

Changing school mascots has come up at two recent school district meetings in Vermont.

The Rutland Raiders and Danville Indians nicknames were discussed at school board meetings Tuesday.

The Vermont Principal’s Association recently issued a statement saying “mascots and all school symbols should support feelings of belonging and inclusivity for students” and that any “that has marginalizing, racist or exclusionary elements should be replaced.”

At Rutland’s meeting, 21 people said they want the mascot to change; seven said they supported keeping it, WCAX-TV reported.

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“Rutland as a whole is not a diverse community. But we have the responsibility to raise our students with an understanding of the world and life outside of RHS,” said Rachel Black, a 2009 Rutland High School alumna. “Changing the racist Rutland mascot is one way to do this.”

Mascot supporters said not everyone is being heard, pointing to an online petition with more than 2,000 signatures and a paper petition with 700 more, asking to keep the Raiders nickname and arrowhead logo.

“The petition is just getting started,” said Craig Hahn of Rutland. “Save the Raiders. Go Raiders!”

The Danville school board discussed the process for reviewing the mascot, which some students want changed.

“There is a lot of conversation that has to happen,” said Principal David Schilling.