WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Superior Court issued an order denying an application for an injunction that would have barred the West Hartford Board of Education from replacing two high school mascots’ names.
On June 7, the West Hartford BOE voted by a 5-2 margin to approve new mascot names for Conard and Hall High Schools. The new names, the Conard Red Wolves and the Hall Titans, will replace the Chieftains and the Warriors.
Just hours before the BOE took its vote, attorney Scott Zweig served the BOE with with a lawsuit, challenging its authority to make the name changes. According to city officials, the Superior Court issued an order on Friday, denying an application by attorney Zweig for an ex parte temporary injunction that would have barred the BOE from replacing the team names during the pendency of the lawsuit.
“We are pleased that the Court denied Attorney Scott Zweig’s application for an ex parte injunction, but it is unfortunate that Attorney Zweig continues to stoke the flames of division over mascot names and refuses to allow the community to move beyond this contentious issue,” Corporation Counsel Dallas Dodge said in a statement following the court’s ruling. “While we hope he will consider withdrawing his lawsuit, the Board stands ready to continue defending its actions in Court if necessary.”
The BOE voted earlier this year to drop the Chieftains and Warriors, saying they have a connection to Native Americans.
“And most importantly we know historically speaking and from current advocates, the lack of respect in continuing to use those names. Those who have been outspoken in that,” said West Hartford Board of Education Chair Lorna Thomas-Farquharson.
Zweig said he is offended and filed the lawsuit to stand up for his rights.
“Corporation counsel has indicated that he thinks that their actions complied with applicable board policies and state and federal law and again I disagree, and the reason why I filed a lawsuit is so that I can put them through their paces and we are going to let the court decide who followed the policies and who didn’t,” Zweig said.
After the new names were announced, Zweig said, “Disappointed but that’s what I expected they would do, the board has shown a tendency to disregard the opinions of the people of West Hartford.”
Zweig said he is going to continue fighting and see them at the court hearing in July.
“…I don’t plan on giving up until the court tells me I have no right to the relief that I’ve sought in my complaint,” Zweig said.
Dodge released a statement, that read in part:
“Attorney Zweig’s alleged procedural grievances are without merit – the decision was properly adopted by the Board, and it is consistent with local, state and federal policies concerning equity and diversity. Despite Attorney Zweig’s claims to the contrary, there is no court order barring the school district from moving forward with the name changes.”
This is a developing story. Stay with News 8 for updates.