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    Thursday, June 20, 2024

    Killingly High School loses $94,184 in annual state aid after refusing to give up Redmen nickname

    The Connecticut Office of Policy and Management announced Thursday in a news release that three schools, including Killingly High School, which have refused to give up their Native American-related names or mascots, will lose state funding.

    A bill passed by the General Assembly last year prohibits cities and towns from using Native American names, symbols, or images without tribal consent. The municipalities had until June 2024 to inform the state Office of Policy and Management of their intent to make changes or get written permission from local tribes to keep them.

    Otherwise, the municipalities would lose funding from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan fund, starting in June 2023. The two tribes send a portion of their slot machine revenues to the state which are then distributed to municipalities.

    The schools that did not comply with the law were the Canton High School Warriors; the Killingly High School Redmen and Red Gals; and the Windsor High School Warriors.

    Canton and Windsor do not currently receive funding from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund. Killingly was slated to receive $94,184 from the fund, but it will not receive funding because of its refusal to comply with the law. .

    In response to a grassroots’ effort by students, the Board of Education in 2019 replaced the Redmen mascot with Red Hawks. But running on a platform to restore the old nickname, a group of residents won election to the school board later that year and proceeded to bring back the Redmen and Redgals names.

    Five other schools use Native American names, images or symbols, but received permission from recognized tribes to continue their use. The schools are: Derby High School; Derby Middle School; R.A.I.S.E. Academy in Derby; and Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford and Montville Elementary School.

    Montville’s Board of Education voted unanimously in March to discontinue the Indians nickname at Tyl Middle School and the high school. The board did not receive a letter of consent to keep the name from the Mohegan Tribe.

    The decision came after years of conversations between the school district’s superintendent, the tribe and the mayor, even before the 2021 legislation.

    If Montville had not complied, it would have lost $1.4 million in annual funding.

    The school district's athletic teams will now be referred to as "Montville." The middle school and high school logos will have no Native American symbols and will simply depict a “T” or “M”.

    Laurie Pallin, the school district’s superintendent, in March said the schools would continue to have the tribe's partnership and support, such as helping the district with the costs to change the name.

    Mohegan Elementary did receive approval from the tribe to keep its logo of a wolf. The tribe is known as the wolf people.

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