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Crowd leaves in an uproar as Killingly Board of Education votes not to have mascot

KILLINGLY - The Killingly Board of Education voted late Wednesday night to temporarily not have a mascot given the different opinions on whether it should be the Redmen or the Red Hawks.

Before that vote, the board initially voted for the Redmen and that is when most of the crowd left in an uproar.

A lot of residents have been very vocal about this split controversy.

Those who oppose Redmen said the name is racially inappropriate and disrespectful to the Native American culture.

"I'm opposed to reverting to the original mascot. People are not mascots."

State Police and Killingly Police made their presence known at the Board of Education meeting knowing the crowd has been aggressive in past meetings.

Killingly High School's mascot was formerly known as The Redmen. In July, the Board of Ed decided to allow a mascot change.

A letter was sent out to students and parents, urging people to take the online survey and said: ".... it was never our intention of the district to be disrespectful to the Native American culture." 

In October, students voted to change the mascot to the Red Hawks.

However, the controversy is back. Newly-elected Republicans on the board considered to change it back to the Redmen that has once again gotten everyone up in arms.

"Here's the thing. This issue is not about political correctness. This issue is about racism. Blatant racism."

Others said they are proud to be a Redmen.

"I stand here because I have a child in a school who is proud to be a Redmen and I know it's a name that may be insulting to some but I listen to the people when they voted."

Members with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe said the Redmen image is offensive because it displayed a Native American in a headdress and feathers were adorned on the helmets of football players.

"There are many past preferences or practices that were once considered commonplace that are no longer acceptable and are not appropriate. The term Redmen is one."

The meeting started at 7 p.m. and went on until around midnight.

A special meeting will be held next Wednesday to further discuss this controversy.

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