in the State House of Representatives
on May 5, 2022, by a vote of
Purpose: S.139 would move the final decision-making authority on school branding from local schools to Vermont’s Agency of Education.
In recent years, Vermont communities have been divided over controversial school brands and mascots. The Rice Little Indians and CVU Crusaders became the Rice Knights and CVU Redhawks. After a brief change to the Rutland Ravens, the Rutland Raiders brand was recently brought back. S.139 was introduced shortly after the reversal.
School brands and associated mascots may not be based on “race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity of any person or group of persons.”
Guided by this policy, S.139 directs Vermont’s Agency of Education to draft a “policy (which) shall provide a process for an individual to file a complaint that an element of school branding is in violation of the policy. Complaints shall be determined first by the school board of the district and, if the individual is unsatisfied with the decision of the board, may be appealed to the Secretary of Education,” who can make a final decision.
Analysis: Those voting YES want to stop harmful stereotypes associated with several Vermont schools.
Those voting NO may prefer that schools stop using such stereotypes, but believe those are decisions best made at the local level. They see this as the latest episode in a long history of local decision making authority being taken away and transferred to state government.
As Recorded in the House Journal, Thursday, May 5, 2022: “…Shall the bill be read a third time?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 96. Nays, 47 (Read the Journal, p. 1742-44).
Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – NO
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – NO