School Committee votes unanimously to retire Winchester High School’s mascot

WINCHESTER, Mass. — It’s an issue that’s been hotly debated for years in Winchester, and on Tuesday night, the school committee voted unanimously to retire the high school’s Sachem mascot.

The vote concluded a virtual meeting that lasted for five hours, including hours of public testimony.

Some said they feel the Sachem symbol represents pride and leadership at Winchester High School.

Others, including current students and recent graduates, told the school committee they believe it is an outdated racist mascot and a representation of white supremacy.

“It’s hard because some people who have kids who play sports have a certain affinity or connection to the team and that logo,” said Gail Larocca. “They definitely have to address it, and I think it’s time for a change.”

Those who said they were bothered by the mascot said they would like to see it removed immediately.

Opponents said they questioned the timing of the conversation.

“It’s ridiculous. I think it’s a complete overreaction. We have bigger fish to fry, and there’s more important things in this world to debate and discuss,” said Greg Cumings.

Winchester High School is one of at about 40 Massachusetts schools that use Native American images as mascots and logos.

The school committee also voted for the superintendent to work on a transition plan for a new logo and mascot, including the cost and timeline.

Committee members emphasized that “not a single tax dollar” would be spent on relabeling old trophies.

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