WAKEFIELD (CBS) — Wakefield residents voted Tuesday night to keep the “Warrior” logo of their school mascot. The image of a Native American was voted out by the School Committee last March. That caused such an uproar it was put to a non-binding town wide vote.
“It’s become a huge controversy. I also think that this is indicative of what we are seeing throughout the country, we are seeing a divided country and unfortunately, we are seeing it here in our community today too,” said Town Council Candidate Brandon Flanagan.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
The annual town election in Wakefield was Tuesday and ballot question number 1 asked whether to remove or keep the town’s Warrior logo.
It’s become so controversial that some residents have gotten into heated battles over it.
“A lot of name-calling, a lot of cyberbullying. And it’s not setting a good example for kids,” said School Committee Candidate Ami Ruehrwein Wall.
The School Committee already decided to retire the logo but keep the Warriors name.
“This is a non-binding question but there are people who are running for town office that are running just because of the logo issue because they want to save the logo. We feel like we don’t want to give them a data point so that’s why we’re trying to get the town mobilized,” said Nicole Calabrese, the Vote ‘No’ on 1 Chair.READ MORE: NASA Rocket Launch Friday Night Should Be Visible Along East Coast
Wakefield learned that by roughly 600 votes, residents want to keep their school’s logo. The unofficial results were 2911 to 2347.
Flanagan said he is in favor of keeping the logo. “I think it demonstrates pride, courage, determination,” he said.
Young first-time voters chimed in as well.
“I really see it as a social justice issue and we really need to make sure as a predominantly white town that we are inclusive of Native voices,” said Jack Devow.
Ninety-two-year-old Wakefield American Indian Richard Bayrd said his father, Chief Eagle Claw or Leonard Bayrd, helped come up with the Warriors name because they were battling to win games at the time. He feels keeping the logo is the right thing to do because it signifies pride.
“There’s not too much left that they can have for the Indians left,” Bayrd said. “Leave us alone. Give us something left.”MORE NEWS: Brookline To Lift Outdoor Mask Mandate On May 21
The referendum is non-binding, meaning the incoming School Committee could stick with its decision to scrap the image, or some new members could opt to revisit the issue.