The town of Killingly, which is in Connecticut, has been ordered to forfeit $94,184 in state funding this year for their high school’s continued use of the “Redmen” and “Red Gals” mascots.
Killingly was one of three towns, the others being Windsor and Canton who were deemed to have failed to comply with a 2021 state law that restricts the use of Native American mascots in Connecticut schools.
Windsor and Canton both use a “warrior” mascot, however as these towns do not receive any funding from the Mashantucket Pequot/Mohegan Fund, they will not be financially disadvantaged.
Derby, who uses the nickname “Red Raiders,” was allowed to keep their funding since they received consent from recognized Native tribes.
Earlier this year, Connecticut required every town to register the name of their mascots for every school. Most districts certified that they either did not use any offending mascots or had a plan in place to phase them out. Several towns replaced their mascots in accordance with the rules.
However, Killingly, Windsor and Cantons said they would keep the names and/or imagery associated with indigenous peoples.
In Killingly, the Board of Education previously voted to remove its nickname and mascot, but they later walked back this decision after receiving backlash from the town residents.
In Windsor, where they use the nickname “Warriors,” accompanied by an arrowhead logo, Superintendent Terrell Hill said that no changes will be made “until I have been instructed to do so.”
In Canton, the Board of Education voted last year to retain “Warriors” nickname while removing all Native-related imagery, a decision which was similar to many other towns in the state.
Despite the change, state officials with the Office of Policy and Management said that Canton was still not in compliance with state law since the school “has chosen to retain its name, symbol or image that depicts, refers to, or is associated with” Native Americans.
In a statement, OPM secretary Jeffrey Beckham said the agency had “carefully reviewed each submission” in reaching its decisions.
“Three schools, Canton High School, Killingly High School, and Windsor High School all certified that they will continue using Native American names, images, or symbols, and as a result those schools are ineligible to receive grants provided by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund,” Beckham said.
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