The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has issued guidance regarding the Board’s April 2023 decision to ban the use of indigenous names, logos, and mascots in public schools, including what local schools will and won’t face and will need to change.

Recently released May 2023 guidance confirms that nearly a dozen Long Island school districts must remove their mascots, logos and team names by June 30, 2025.

The guidelines say schools can only keep their team names if they “have never used Indigenous imagery in their team names”.

The clarification appears to affect schools such as Warrior in the Comsewogue School District, whose mascot depicts a Native American, although a May 3 letter to NYSED from the principal said schools should be allowed to continue using Warrior About the Spartan warriors of ancient Greece.

After retirement, the rule prohibits school employees from wearing or displaying any paraphernalia bearing the former logo, mascot or name, including items from their own schools or schools across New York State.

However, schools are not required to remove or alter “heritage” or “commemorative” items such as plaques and trophies because they are “historical artefacts” of the school.

The full guidelines and rules come as some Long Island schools condemn the new rules, such as the Massapequa School District, whose Board of Education issued a statement claiming the board was exceeding its authority.

“We are Massapequa, and we will not stand idly by while a group of unelected officials seek to erase our history,” the statement read.

While it’s unclear how Massapequa’s board of education plans to oppose the rules, the Department of Education said that unless schools reach a written agreement with a state or federally recognized tribe authorizing them to continue using mascots, they will need to insist on the change.

Schools that do not comply could face consequences under the Education Act, including the removal of school officials or “as a last resort, the withholding of state aid”.

School districts are encouraged to engage their communities and see this change as an opportunity, citing in particular the example set by the Brentwood Unified Free School District on Long Island.

In a letter to families and communities, Superintendent Richard Loschner wrote that what connects Brentwood students past and present “is not the word Indian, it is It’s not a feather, it’s not a painting on an Indian, it’s the gym floor it’s us… Brentwood!”

“We are proud of Brentwood; we are Brentwood Strong, but most of all we are Brentwood.”

The deadline for the school to commit to removing the mascot is Friday, June 30.

Check back to Daily Voice for updates.

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