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On to the Federal Courts. New York Education Department Will Halt Aid for Schools with Native American Mascots

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The Department of Education in New York will halt aid to schools that have Native American team names, mascots, and logos.

According to a memo from Senior Deputy Commissioner James N. Baldwin that was circulated to all Empire State school districts, the department has “consistently opposed” Native American mascots, citing a 2001 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.”

The New York State Education Department issued a memo Thursday mandating that all its schools stop using Native American mascots, names, logos, and imagery.

Districts have complied, but Senior Deputy Commissioner James N. Baldwin called out Cambridge Central School District as one of a few that has not complied. Cambridge voted to retire its “Indian” imagery only to reinstate it, which sparked community members to file a legal appeal to Commissioner of Education Dr. Betty A. Rosa, who ruled to continue to retire the imagery. The district went on to appeal to the Supreme Court, where Rosa’s determination was upheld.





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