WINDSOR, CT (WFSB) – The spotlight is back on local high schools and the town of Killingly voting to bring back a mascot that many deemed racist.
Due to the uproar in the quiet corner of the state, one lawmaker is proposing to end the debate once and for all by simply forcing schools to change mascots.
Windsor is known at the Warriors and part of the mascot has an arrow with red and white feathers, which invokes Native Americans.
If this proposal were to pass, the signage, maybe even the name, would be stripped.
“When we’re going out and have the Warriors across our chest, it’s describing who we are and how we play,” said Justice Ellison, Windsor High School.
Justice Ellison is a Windsor Warrior. The senior basketball star could be one of the last to wear that name that generations have come to know.
Windsor, along with more than a dozen schools across the state, use Native American names or imagery with their mascots.
Most recently and most notably, Killingly reverted back to the Redmen mascot in a controversial battle that caught the attention of the nation.
“We really need to take a hard look at what we’re doing and the message we’re sending to our students,” said Rep. Bobby Gibson, 15th District.
What happened in Killingly has prompted local lawmakers like House Speaker Joseph Aresimowicz and Rep. Bobby Gibson to look at removing all Native American names from high schools.
That would include Rep. Gibson’s 15th District, which covers Windsor.
“Our kids are growing up hearing these names, mascots, so what are they really thinking about indigenous people,” Gibson said.
Maine is the only state in the country imposing a ban like this. Connecticut would the second and would go even further. Lawmakers are exploring if they could withhold funding from towns that don’t comply.
“I think that’s something to think about, do we really want our tax dollars going to something that’s going to actually put some of our people in a bad light,” Gibson said.
In Windsor, the superintendent says this proposal will spark a local discussion and if it does pass on a state level, the district will comply.
“I see where people are coming from, where people can see it as offensive, but I see it on the other end, where it’s fine in a way. Warriors is kind of broad,” Ellison said.
This is just a proposal, so it’s far from becoming a law.
Channel 3 reached out to CIAC, looking for their stance on this. They say it’s totally up to the towns.
If passed, at least 18 schools in Connecticut would be impacted:
- Canton Warriors
- Conard Chieftains
- Derby Red Raiders
- Farmington Indians
- Glastonbury Tomahawks
- Guilford Indians
- Killingly Redmen
- Montville Indians
- Newington Indians
- Nonnewaug Chiefs
- North Haven Indians
- RHAM Sachems
- Torrington Red Raiders
- Wamogo Warriors
- Watertown Indians
- Wilcox Tech Indians
- Windsor Warriors
- Valley Regional Warriors