Killingly Continues to Debate Name of High School Mascot

The Killingly High School mascot was changed from the Redmen to the Red Hawks over the summer, but that decision was reversed last week.

Killingly High School sign
NBC Connecticut

The Killingly community continues to debate the name of the high school’s mascot, a controversial issue that has seen some meetings get heated.

The issue of the mascot wasn’t even on the agenda for a special Board of Education meeting Wednesday, but a number of people showed up to remind the board that this is an issue still on their minds.

“May I remind you…it is a racial slur,” said Lamonica Vazquez, a Killingly High School parent.

The original mascot was the Redmen, but it was decided in July to change that name to the Red Hawks. After much debate and controversy, at a meeting last week, the board voted to reverse that decision. Now, the name of the mascot is up in the air as people continue to push both for and against the original.

“You’ve already made the decision, there’s no point in voting again. There's no point in hearing other people’s feelings about it.  It should just be dropped,” student Elionna Vazquez said.

Wednesday’s meeting didn’t see the fireworks of last week’s, which stretched nearly into the midnight hour when members voted not to move forward with the plan to formally change the school’s mascot to the Red Hawks. But people used the gathering of the board to again make their opinion on the issue known.

“There’s so much hate.  It needs to stop now.”

David Cournoyer said whether to let the name go or keep it should be up to the students represented by the mascot right now.

 “We as adults are we trying to force a name upon our school athletes?  They take pride in their athleticism.  They take pride in what they do.  Let them select their mascot name,” he argued.

Eduardo Vazquez plays football at Killingly High and said among his friends, they’re ready to turn a page and play under a new, less offensive name.

“As I’m looking at my jersey before I put it on, I see the name Redmen I just feel very uncomfortable,” the senior said. “I feel like it’s a racial slur.” 

His suggestion is to change the name and let the Redmen and the period it represented stay in the history books.

“For the people that played back then in the olden days, it won’t be erased.  It’s just going to be history.  Everything is history.”

The chair of the board did not want to be interviewed on camera, but said that what happens next is in the hands of a special committee designated to debate the issue. There is no timetable on when they have to make any kind of decision.

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