Cambridge school board member resigns over mascot controversy

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Cambridge School Board member Neil Gifford has resigned, citing the controversy over the school’s Indian mascot as his reason to leave.

The contentious Cambridge mascot controversy has been brewing in Washington County for several years.

The State Education Department has discouraged native-themed mascots in public schools since 2001. However, last year, the education commissioner ordered schools to retire native-themed mascots by the end of this current school year.

At least one Native American on the board, Dillon Honyoust, has supported keeping the mascot. However, there has also been a great deal of community opposition.

After losing previous lawsuits to keep their Native American logo and nickname, the district has decided to challenge the decision at the appellate level of State Supreme Court.

In his resignation letter, Gifford wrote: “I know I have more to offer CCS, but I cannot in good conscience serve on a board of a public educational institution that continues to use public resources to pursue personal agendas over objective, evidence-based decision making.”

Gifford’s term would have ended at the end of this school year

Hear reaction from the district to Gifford’s decision to resign, and any possible plans to fill the seat by watching the video of Dan Levy’s story