KILLINGLY, CT (WFSB) – One Connecticut high school is reverting back to its old controversial mascot, which critics call offensive and racist.
Killingly High School’s sports teams will once again be known at the “redmen.”
The decision was made at a fiery Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.
The meeting began with a large number of people speaking out against the “redmen” mascot, including teachers, students, and Native Americans.
In fact, no one in the crowd spoke in support of the “redmen” name.
In the end, the Board of Education decided to bring back the controversial mascot.
During the meeting the board of ed voted for Killingly High school to use their past mascot as the symbol of their future.
Supporters of the “redmen” name say there are honoring history, but critics say they are just embracing a term that is out of date and racist.
The decision is history-making as it’s the first time any school in the United States has gone back to a Native American mascot after initially deciding to ditch the old symbol.
Killingly has a long history with the ‘redmen” team name. The high school used the mascot along with a Native American logo between 1939 and 2019.
Just last month, the words “Redmen” adorned the chest plate of the football team’s jersey as they played in the state title. But back in the summer, the school board had voted to change the name of Killingly’s mascot from the “Redmen” to the Red Hawks.
The switch was made after students, faculty members, and representatives from multiple Native American tribes convinced the board that the term “redmen” is offensive.
But in November, Republicans, some of whom had campaigned on a promise to change the name back to “Redmen,” took control of the board and voted to get rid of the Red Hawks mascot.
During Wednesday night’s Board of Education meeting, the board took up the issue and voted 5 to 4 to bring back the “Redmen” name.
Although they have reverted back to the old mascot, they will use a different logo in the future.
The board members argued that despite the protests, the term “redmen” is meant to honor Native Americans, so it should not be construed as a racist or derogatory term.
“We stopped letting it be about the students and doing what’s right. And people can be mad about the process and people can be mad about whatever it is that they think they are losing but the people who are directly Impacted have spoken and we chose to not listen to them,” said Hoween Flexer, Killingly Board of Education.
During the meeting, Board Chairman Craig Hanford, called the town’s attorney because he said he felt uncomfortable when Channel 3 placed our microphone at the table he was sitting at.
The meeting was still ongoing as of 11 p.m.