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Rutland board votes to bring back Raiders school nickname

January 12, 2022 GMT

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — The Rutland City School Commissioners have voted to reinstate the high school nickname the Raiders after retiring it in late 2020 along with the arrowhead logo, deeming it offensive and hurtful to indigenous people.

After a prolonged debate Tuesday night, the commissioners voted 6-5 to bring back the nickname, the Rutland Herald reported. The board had previously voted to adopt the Ravens as the new team name and mascot in February 2021.

The issue has divided the community. A group of pro-Raider commissioners have been pushing to reverse that decision since last spring. On Tuesday, the school nickname dominated the school board meeting, the newspaper reported.

Commissioner Stephanie Stoodley spoke at length about the need for the board and the community to come together to find a compromise, saying students had not been sufficiently included in the decision.

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“Go to a Rutland football game on a Friday night. Those student body are not saying ‘Ravens.’ They are saying ‘Raiders,’” Stoodley said.

The senior class student representative to the board challenged the assertion that the majority of Rutland High School students preferred the Raiders, the newspaper reported.

“I know quite a lot of people in quite a lot of different circles, that would say that – first of all, they just want it to be over – and second of all, they understand where we are coming from with the point that it is, at this point, racist and dividing us,” said Isabella LaFemina.

Commissioner Dena Goldberg questioned the argument that the Raiders name should return because it’s allegedly what the majority of people want.

“Majority voting does not necessarily address minority issues,” Goldberg said.