NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV) — Following a meeting today, April 18, the New York State Board of Regents has unanimously approved new rules that will ban the use of Native American culture used by schools.
This includes names, logos and mascots. As well as in the schools, school buildings and districts.
The board did not discuss the ban because it was part of its consent agenda.
Back in November of 2022, NYSED sent the ruling to all New York school districts, requiring those with a Native American mascot to find a replacement.
The notice stated:
In 2001, former Commissioner of Education Richard P. Mills issued a memorandum “conclud[ing] that the use of Native American symbols or depictions as mascots can become a barrier to building a safe and nurturing school community and improving academic achievement for all students.” Commissioner Mills recognized that, while a role for local discretion existed, “there is a state interest in providing a safe and supportive learning environment for every child.” He asked boards of education “to end the use of Native American mascots as soon as practical.”
Adding that, schools are learning environments and choosing to use Native American mascots is a reflection of “the message their choices convey to students, parents and their communities.”
There are districts across Onondaga, Oneida, Madison, Oswego and Cayuga Counties that used either a Native American-inspired team name, logo or both. Some are more obvious, others are less like raiders and warriors which are the names for Westhill, Liverpool and Morrisville-Eaton. Gregory Molloy, the superintendent for Morrisville-Eaton said he is still waiting on guidance from the state.
“But without knowing, there’s not a whole lot that we can do right now with the information that we have,” Molloy said. “We need to know that warriors is allowable or it’s not allowable.”
Molloy said they haven’t priced out the change but it should be manageable since the name is on items that are removable. And they’ve already made some changes.
“Our current logo, There was a shield with some arrows, crossed arrows and feathers. The arrows and the feathers were removed. So now we just have a shield with a Warriors name in front of it,” Molloy said.
While he waits for an answer, there’s a lesson he hopes students take away.
“If there’s parts of our society that are recognizing that they’re not feeling welcomed or we’re not an inviting place for everybody, we definitely got to do our part,” Molloy said.