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NYSED Orders Schools to End the Use of Native American Mascots
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Late yesterday afternoon, all public school districts received an update from the New York State Education Department (NYSED). In this update, NYSED ordered all school districts in the state to remove Native American imagery and all associated icons from the public school system. The full order from NYSED can be viewed here.
Specifically, the order states, “the court’s decision establishes that public school districts are prohibited from utilizing Native American mascots.” The directive goes on to state that “should a district fail to affirmatively commit to replacing its Native American team name, logo, and/or imagery by the end of the 2022-23 school year, it may be in willful violation of the Dignity Act. The penalties for such a violation include the removal of school officers and the withholding of State Aid.”
At this time, NYSED has indicated they are developing regulations that will clarify school districts’ obligations. Once the clarification document comes out, we will determine the next steps for the district. We will keep the district and community informed as we learn more.
Q: Does the district have to comply with this order?
Yes. The district must comply with the ruling made by NYSED. While the order contains a deadline of June 2023 to “affirmatively commit to replacing … Native American team name, logo, and/or imagery,” for the better part of the last two decades, Lake George Central School District has thoughtfully been working toward compliance since the initial memorandum put forth by NYSED Commissioner Richard Mills in 2001 with the use of the LG symbol.
Q: Does this directive impact the Warrior name?
At this time it is unclear what specific changes may be mandated which could potentially affect our designation as the Warriors. The memo from NYSED states, “The Department is developing regulations that will clarify school districts' obligations in this respect." Given the fact that NYSED plans to issue further specifics on this, we plan to wait until we hear those details to ensure we are in compliance.