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Maine school system retires Yachtsmen nickname, white male mascot

Maine school system retires Yachtsmen nickname, white male mascot
© Getty Images

The school board in Falmouth, Maine, voted unanimously this week to retire the Falmouth High School mascot and nickname, the Yachtsmen, over concerns that the imagery was not inclusive.

The Portland Press Herald reported Wednesday that the board's vote came after a school and community-wide survey indicated that about two-thirds of students and community members either thought the nickname should be changed or had no strong opinion.

“The general takeaway from both buildings was that about two-thirds of the students either disliked the nickname and had feelings of it being exclusive, or were indifferent to it,” said Ashley Pullen, a faculty co-adviser to the Falmouth High School Civil Rights Teams.

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“The results from the community survey were similar," Pullen added.

The name apparently originated from a 1948 story in the Portland Press Herald that unofficially dubbed members of the school "Yachtsmen"; the term appeared in yearbooks shortly thereafter.

The school's mascot — a white, scowling, bearded sailor named "Yachtie" — was so unpopular that no one has wanted to wear the costume for years, according to the school's athletic director.

Pullen added to the Press Herald that the community is considering other ways to address racial equity, and described the mascot change as just a first step.

“Certainly we have other equity-related work to do as a district, the mascot is a teeny, tiny piece of that,” she said. “But it is a concrete starting point of putting the image out there that we are a more inclusive district, or at least not an antiquated, exclusive mascot.”