Glastonbury High: Parent punches school board member over axing of tomahawk logo
A meeting held to decide the future of Glastonbury High School’s Native American-inspired mascot turned violent when a fight broke out between a parent and a school board member in Connecticut. Things got nasty between the parent, Mark Finocchiaro, and board secretary Ray McFall, during a 10-minute recess amid a public comment period about the Glastonbury Tomahawks name.
As per reports, the school’s mascot name was changed to Glastonbury Guardians in 2020. The school’s team logos were also changed from a tomahawk to a knight’s helmet. But now, some people want to reinstate the old name. A former student also began a petition saying that the "Glastonbury High School Tomahawks must stay. While I understand its tie to the Native Americans, in today’s day and age, tomahawks are a tool that people everywhere use."
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"Glastonbury Tomahawks have changed my life forever, and I'm not willing to give it up. Taking it from those seniors whose year as a Tomahawk got cut short, I’m not letting anything come in the way of showing how proud I am to be a Tomahawk. I and every other present and future student is only going to be able to show that pride, if this mascot stands," the petition added.
So to discuss the issue, on Tuesday, December 14, the school board held a meeting. However, eventually Finocchiaro and McFall had an altercation. Reportedly, it was the 53-year-old parent who first confronted the 57-year-old board member. But when McFall apparently pushed away Finocchiaro gently, he lost temper and punched McFall, who then fell on the floor.
Glastonbury Town Councilman John Cavanna, also a sergeant with the Hartford Police Department, was present there and tried to stop the fight. He said, “I was up near the stage area when I heard voices get raised, and I turned to make my way over there. Folks in the audience know me as the type of guy that will maintain order. So people started yelling my name, and I turned to see Mr McFall, who had apparently gone off to confront the other gentleman.”
Cavanna added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they arrest both, and it will be for a judge to decide what transpired. Honestly, at the end of the day, it’s just sad that something like that had to take place. To see it get to the point where folks are physically going after each other is just sad. We’re never going to get anything accomplished if we don't work together.”
Lt Mark Davis of the Glastonbury Police told The Daily Beast that a probe has been launched into the incident. He added: “No charges have been filed yet, but our investigation is ongoing at this point.”
Superintendent Alan Bookman of the Glastonbury Public Schools Board also issued a statement saying the meeting was suspended after the altercation “without voting on the matter.” He stated, “The Board of Education welcomes public comment and appreciates that there will always be passionate testimony when controversial issues are considered. But it is critical that we listen to each other with respect and follow meeting rules so that everyone can be heard.”