NYSED Orders Schools to End the Use of Native American Mascots
On November 17th, 2022, The New York State Education Department ordered all school districts in the state to remove “Indian” mascots and associated icons. This decision was made in an attempt to ensure that school mascots, team names, and logos are not discriminatory towards Native Americans. This includes the Glens Falls Indians and the arrowhead logo. The deadline for removing the Native American team name, logo and imagery is the end of the 2023 school year. The penalty for non-compliance may include removal of school officers, and withholding of state aid.
Glens Falls School District has every intention of complying with the ruling made by the NYSED. The removal of Indian associated items include; sports uniforms, furniture, and the gymnasium floor. The turf field is already scheduled to be replaced as part of the upcoming capital project. The school district is working on a process to find a solution to removing the logos in the time frame given. The Glens Falls School District feels that the student body should have a say in the naming and creation of a new mascot moving forward: they would like to keep the lines of communication open with the student body and community while a solution is reached. One suggestion was that Glens Falls be known by an already common logo and image: Glens Falls Nation.
The Cambridge Central School District has been involved in this controversy since June 2021: the school district had originally voted to retire the Indian team name, logo, and mascot, but the decision was reversed a month later when a new school board was voted into office. In August of that year, Educational Commissioner Betty Rosa declared that the image and the name violated the Dignity For All Students Act. Washington County filed an appeal, but the New York State Supreme Court ruled that Cambridge had to make the changes by July 1, 2022.
School districts that are connected with Native American communities can be approved by federally recognized tribes and allowed to use a tribal mascot. Native American mascots are still used by as many as 50 to 60 school districts in the State.
Local school districts that are affected by this decision include:
Corinth – Tomahawks
Averill Park – Warriors
Mohonasen – Warriors
Hoosic Valley – Indians
Stillwater – Warriors
Fonda/Fultonville – Braves
Schoharie – Indians
Glens Falls – Indians
Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk – Indians