The decision Tuesday ends several years of squabbling over replacing the former “Raiders” nickname because of its racist connotations.
The Rutland City school board voted to abolish the mascot — again — during its first regular meeting since Vermont enacted a law that bans offensive school branding. The “Raiders” name was first retired in 2020, then reinstated earlier this year.
Two bills signed by Gov. Scott Tuesday will create a one-year pilot program offering free meals to every student and will ban offensive mascots in schools.
Mayor David Allaire said state Rep. Peter Fagan, R-Rutland City, a former school commissioner and a military veteran, has the experience and leadership skills to help unify the board after years of division over the high school mascot.
The bill would task the Agency of Education with drafting a school branding policy in an effort to ban mascots that stereotype racial or gender identities.
Nearly 3,000 city residents showed up at the polls this Town Meeting Day, about 20% more than at similar local elections, which led the clerk’s office to photocopy additional ballots.
“It does not represent me. It does not represent our culture. It does not honor me in any way."
Board members have debated the validity of the mascot for Rutland City schools over the past year, but on Tuesday, board members acknowledged that their previous vote to change the mascot was binding.
After much deliberation about the validity of the process that changed the Rutland High School mascot to the “Ravens,” an attorney’s report finds that the move was valid and does not recommend the board switch it back.
Organized by Rutland High School’s senior class president, the event celebrated “the RHS Ravens of 2021,” and supported a permanent change from the previous mascot to the Rutland Ravens.