Cambridge school board votes to appeal education commissioner’s order to retire Indian nickname | Local

Evan Lawrence Specially for The Post-Star

CAMBRIDGE – On Wednesday night, the Cambridge School Board decided by 3-2 votes to appeal the order of the State Commissioner for Education Betty Rosa to abolish the Indian nickname and images of the school.

Education Council President Jessica Zim said all government officials she spoke to about the decision agreed that Rosa had exceeded her limits.

“It’s about our rights as a community and a school district,” Zim said before the vote.

She added that she believed that Rosa “singled out” the school, without addressing all parts of the state with mascots on native themes.

“I am concerned about the implications for our budget if we do not stand up for our community,” Zim said.

Board member Neil Gifford, who was president of the school board in June when the board voted for the mascot’s resignation, said Rosa’s decision was not about the mascot but about re-voting less than a month later to restore the mascot.

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“It’s insincere to say we were singled out” through the mascot, Gifford said.

Shay Price, who joined the council in July and voted to cancel the vote the previous month, said Rosa had annulled the legitimate vote “at her discretion”.

Board member Dylan Hanyust said he and Price were elected by an overwhelming majority of constituency voters based on their promise to keep the Indian.

“The previous council knew our views,” Hanyust said, adding that voting with one member of the “lame duck” before the new council took office was “premature.” The decision to cancel the previous vote was “fair and rational” and supported by Indians living in the constituency, he said.

“This horse was killed to death,” said board member Caleb Bro. “Your main voters are the students of this school.”

During the vote, Zim, Hanjust and Price voted to continue the appeal. Gifford and Bro were against.

The resolution states that the council does not agree with Rosa’s order to resign the mascot, calling it “outside the powers of the commissioner and / or that her decision is arbitrary or capricious.” He instructs counsel for the council, Honeywell Law Firm PLLC, “to take any appropriate legal action necessary on behalf of the Board of Education to challenge the Commissioner’s decision,” and authorizes Ziehm to process any necessary legal documents.

An estimate of what this district appeal may cost is not proposed.

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