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Pittsfield School Officials Affirm Decision on Braves' Replacement
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
06:15PM / Thursday, September 24, 2020
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee affirmed its decision to replace the Taconic mascot on Wednesday.
 
A vote on Wednesday was taken to clarify the procedure in accepting and then filing a petition two weeks ago from a group of citizens who are against changing the name from the Braves. 
 
"I think we are wading here into a parliamentary morass," committee member William Cameron said. "The point of the vote has been lost sight of as we struggle to find words to satisfy those people who won't be satisfied by anything but rescinding the vote." 
 
School officials voted in August to eliminate the name, but the item was placed on the agenda again in September after a group of alumni and residents communicated that they were unclear that a vote would take place. They wanted a chance to speak to the matter.
 
During this meeting in September, this group also put forth a petition asking the School Committee to hold off on the name change.
 
The committee did not budge and voted to accept the petition, placing it on file and grounding the effort.
 
This caused confusion because the petitioners were under the impression that by accepting the petition, the School Committee had reversed its decision.
 
"It certainly does need to be clarified," petitioner James Massery said during public comment. "It was my interpretation ... that the name of Taconic Braves was actually accepted by a unanimous yes vote at the last meeting."
 
Chairwoman Katherine Yon said the petitioners contacted her on the matter as well as City Council members and the city solicitor. So, she contacted the district's attorney who reaffirmed that the School Committee correctly voted on the petition by filing it.
 
But to be absolutely clear, Yon suggested they vote to reject the petition and place it on file.
 
Mayor Linda Tyer said she was not comfortable with this vote and did not like the sense of rejecting a petition. She felt the committee made the correct vote and didn't have to take further action.
 
"I am not comfortable with rejecting this petition. People need to be able to appeal to their government," Tyer said. "I think the vote you took a few weeks ago was appropriate ... we acknowledged that they were heard." 
 
The mayor said the School Committee could accept the petition as a "receipt," showing that it has acknowledged it, then file it. This would achieve essentially what they already voted on earlier this month.
 
The vote to do this was unanimous.   

 

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