Belmont students consider dropping 'offensive' mascot
The Belmont High School Red Raiders logo (DAN SEUFERT PHOTO)
NH school nicknames with Native American connotationsNative American nicknames in NH
Belmont: Red Raiders
Colebrook Academy: Mohawks
Spaulding: Red Raiders
Source: NH Interscholastic Athletic Association 2013-14 Handbook
Students and teachers at Belmont High in the school's hallways on Monday said some students want to drop the word "red" from Red Raiders.
Superintendent Maria Dreyer said the issue has been brought up twice before. About 12 years ago, the school debated changing the name, but settled instead on changing the logo, replacing a Native American face with "more of a contemporary face, a figure of a face."
"It should be a very interesting discussion; these are very thoughtful and active students," Dreyer said.
Dreyer said Belmont High School students, alumni, and teachers are not being purposely disrespectful to Native Americans.
Brett Sottaks, a member of the Belmont High Class of 1988 and the coach of the school's baseball team from 1999-2010, said the founders of the school named the mascot with complete respect to local American Indians.
"I'm proud to be a Red Raider," he said. "I am completely against a name change."
Marc Forgione Sr. is a board member of Friends of Belmont Football, an organization devoted to finding a place for student athletes attending Belmont High School to play football. He agrees with Sottaks.
"Being from Laconia, my opinion is that it's ridiculous to be offended by something that's meant to honor the local heritage, whether it's a 'Red Raider' or a 'Sachem.' We should be focusing on bigger issues, like getting a football team in Belmont," he said.
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