The Board of Aldermen will discuss changing the city charter to make “Raiders” the official nickname of Rutland High School.

The board voted 6-5 Monday to send the proposal to the Charter and Ordinance Committee. Should the full board endorse the charter change, it would go first to a public vote and then to the Vermont Legislature for final approval.

The School Board voted last year to retire the Raider name and associated arrowhead symbol in response to complaints that it was offensive to Native Americans — similar to the concerns that previously prompted to school to change the name from “Red Raiders” and abandon the Native American head logo in favor of the arrowhead. The board subsequently voted to change the mascot to “Ravens” before a newly elected slate of board members began a drive to reinstate the Raider name.

That question has been put in front of an ad-hoc committee of the School Board. DePoy, who previously tried to get a referendum on the change placed on the Town Meeting Day ballot, brought the issue back before Aldermen on Monday.

Alderman Thomas Franco asked if there was any precedent for addressing school issues through the charter. DePoy said the charter addresses municipal and school district governance. Franco responded that the charter outlines the powers of the School Board, which was where he thought the issue of what the sports teams are called should stay.

“I don’t think this is the path we should take,” he said.

Alderman Devon Neary argued that Aldermen had set a precedent last year of leaving the subject to the School Board when it voted down DePoy’s referendum proposal.

“They just formed this (School Board ad-hoc) committee,” he said. “Let’s see where that goes. ... I really caution against overreach over the School Board.”

Alderman Sam Gorruso countered that discussing issues like this in the Charter and Ordinance Committee is the whole reason Aldermen have a committee structure and that he supported putting “almost anything” in committee.

“Will it die in committee?” he asked. “Only the committee will know. Only the good Lord will know.”

Alderman Michael Talbott said he found it “incredibly unlikely” the Legislature would approve the change, making the discussion an “exercise in futility.” Alderwoman Sharon Davis claimed in response that the Legislature tends to be driven in such cases by whatever the people have voted for.

“We have sent things to committee that I have no idea why they’re there,” she said. “Maybe it’s time for a vote. I don’t know. But it’s time to put it to rest.”

Alderwoman Carrie Savage and Alderman Michael Doenges voted “no” alongside Neary, Franco and Talbott. DePoy, Gorruso, Davis and Aldermen Paul Clifford and William Gillam voted “yes” and were joined by Board President Matthew Whitcomb to break the tie. The committee will meet at a date determined by the chair.

gordon.dritschilo

@rutlandherald.com

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City Reporter

Gordon has been a reporter for the Rutland Herald for nearly 20 years. A Castleton State College graduate, he's covered beats from the West county to the city, cops and courts and everything in between.

(13) comments

BPAOLUCCI

This is insanity. With all the problems facing this City we’re focused on changing the name of the high school team mascot??? Really. The School Board agreed to change, the students like the new name. Now the Alderman want to change the city charter to keep the old name….. my thoughts, fire the entire school board, replace the board of alderman and get someone in there that can repair our infrastructure, bring in new business, entice people to move to thisCity.

Bob Paolucci a tax paying resident…..

Alyssa

agreed! this is embarrassing.

Jennifer Philo

[thumbup]

Jennifer Philo

[thumbup]

Jennifer Philo

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Alyssa

what a pathetic and sad thing! i am ashamed and embarrassed by all of this. the Aldermen don't have anything better to do?

CFQ914

If I were a Rutland City resident and this is what the Board of Alderman was working on, I'd be pretty aggravated too. There are plenty of other issues that need addressing, this is just stupid and a waste of time.

Jennifer Philo

[thumbup]

Jennifer Philo

The Board of Aldermen has no jurisdiction on this issue, yet Depoy keeps abusing his position to further his own personal agenda. Not only is this a complete waste of time for the BoA, it's a slap in the face to the Indigenous community of Vermont, Rutland students, staff, faculty, alum and Rutland City residents who are working to make our community a better, more welcoming and inclusive place. The equity and inclusion statement the BoA unanimously signed clearly was performative for some. How embarrassing.

WolfVT802

What an absolute embarrassment. I really can't believe the alderman consider this a good use of their time. I will be looking to never elect these folks for any capacity to lead in the future. I can't wait for elections. Absolute embarrassment whole lot of you.

Jennifer Philo

[thumbup]

WolfVT802

Does anyone if we can recall elected alderman? how do we get these people legally out of office asides waiting for elections and their term to expire?

Jennifer Philo

I believe Aldermen fall under the same rules as school board and select board representatives, so unfortunately, no- there is no recall option in VT. The best Boards can do is censure until the next election cycle.

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