Town votes not to restore Native American nickname for teams

GLASTONBURY, Conn. (AP) — A school board in Connecticut has rejected a proposal to revive a Native American nickname for its high school sports teams, a week after a meeting to discuss that idea ended with a board member being punched.

The Glastonbury Board of Education finished its meeting online Monday night, voting 7-1 not to change the name from Guardians back to Tomahawks. The town changed the name earlier this year.

“The Tomahawk mascot no longer seems to be a symbol that signals a vision of strength and unity at Glastonbury High School, but instead seems to sow division and discord in our community,” board member Evan Seretan said at Monday night’s meeting.

Last Tuesday's in-person meeting ended after an argument erupted during a break between a board member and a resident. The board member can be seen on a video pushing the man, who then takes a swing at the board member, striking him and causing him to fall backward.

Police are investigating the fight. No charges have been filed.

People in the auditorium quickly pulled the two men apart.

More than 2,500 people had signed a petition asking for a hearing and a reversal of the decision to change the name, arguing the public did not get enough input in last year's name change.

Under legislation passed in June by the state Legislature, municipalities who continue to use Native American-themed nicknames face the prospect of losing their allotment of revenue from the Mashantucket Pequot/Mohegan Fund. That is an account set up for cities and towns to receive part of he state’s 25% share of slot machine revenues generated at the two casinos owned and operated by the federally recognized Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes.

Glastonbury, a suburb of Hartford, last received just under $41,000 from the fund in the 2018 fiscal year, according to the state.