October 4, 2023
Rutland faculty board settles on ‘Rutland’ because the title for college sports activities groups
Rutland faculty board settles on ‘Rutland’ because the title for college sports activities groups
Rutland Excessive College. File photograph by Emma Cotton/VTDigger

Neglect the Raiders and overlook the Ravens: The Rutland Metropolis College Board voted unanimously Tuesday night time to make “Rutland” the staff title for Rutland Excessive College sports activities.

The vote was the end result of greater than two years of negotiations — and typically squabbling — amongst faculty board members, faculty officers and college students.

The nickname had been Rutland Raiders for many years, however college students pushed for a change due to the title’s racist connotations. 

In keeping with Greg Schillinger, Rutland Excessive College principal, the board’s vote on Tuesday marked a want by each its members and the better faculty group to lastly attain a choice on the mascot situation. 

“The board has expressed an curiosity in bringing the dialogue to a conclusion,” Schillinger mentioned. “This was their effort to take action.” 

The thought of referring to the varsity sports activities groups as merely “Rutland” got here from a collection of surveys Schillinger circulated to center and highschool college students and college members. 

Schillinger first supplied an open-ended suggestion field for college kids and workers to supply title concepts. The varsity group then voted among the many high 4 most prompt names. “Rutland” obtained 43% of the vote, “Raptors” 26%, “Ravens” 16% and “Purple Wolves” 15%. 

The movement accredited on Tuesday, initially proposed by board member Stephanie Stoodley and amended by board member Sara Atkins-Doenges, said that “Rutland” is an applicable title beneath which the varsity can come collectively. 

It additionally requested faculty directors to return to the varsity board in June with particular imagery, or a mascot, representing what “Rutland” means to the varsity. 

Some board members expressed concern about what the mascot would truly seem like, and whether or not it’s applicable to have a nickname that’s simply the title of the varsity and town the place it’s situated.

“My feeling is that if we don’t change it with one thing, then folks will proceed calling us and calling our groups the Raiders,” board member Kevin Kiefaber mentioned at a gathering Dec. 13, when dialogue of the proposed new title started. 

“I believe that may be a racist scenario,” Kiefaber mentioned. “ I don’t assume doing that basically addresses the difficulty.”  

Nevertheless, the board concluded that “Rutland” displays a plurality of scholars’ needs. 

“Sooner or later, we’ve to simply transfer on from this situation for one of the best of our college students,” Stoodley mentioned at Tuesday night time’s assembly. “That is taking means an excessive amount of time for nearly three years now. Sufficient is sufficient.” 

Schillinger mentioned he hopes to make use of a course of just like choosing the moniker for selecting the imagery to symbolize it. He plans to seek the advice of the highschool pupil council, knowledgeable graphic designer, and an array of scholars earlier than the board’s June deadline to suggest a mascot picture.

The board’s determination could possibly be the top of a collection of heated debates over the unique “Rutland Raiders” mascot, starting in October 2020 with a vote to retire the title and arrowhead brand over considerations about racism within the mascot’s origins. 

In February 2021, the varsity board formally changed “Raiders” with “Ravens.” Almost a 12 months later, although, in January 2022, and after elections had modified the make-up of the varsity board, a majority of board members voted to reinstate “Raiders,” arguing that the earlier removing course of had been flawed. 

Then, at first of the 2022-23 faculty 12 months, the board voted as soon as once more to retire the “Raiders” mascot, citing its violation of a brand new state legislation that asks the state Company of Training to create a “mannequin nondiscriminatory faculty branding coverage.”

Whereas Schillinger acknowledged that referring to the varsity’s groups merely as “Rutland” may be unconventional, he argued that the choice exhibits the facility of scholars’ voices, and their distinctive methods of considering. 

“The younger folks of the group are the way forward for the group,” Schillinger mentioned on the assembly Dec. 13. “Yeah, this (title) is totally different; this isn’t like all people else, and I like that. We’re going to be totally different than all people else — good.” 

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