Schools all across New York will have to make a decision about their name and mascot.

This week the New York State Board of Regents officially passed a vote banning the use of Native American imagery at public schools.

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If schools don't comply with this new mandate, the school district could end up losing state funding.

There are close to 60 school districts and a total of 130 schools that still use mascots and imagery of Native Americans.  They will have until the end of the 2024-2025 school year, to make changes or risk losing state funding.

One school district in Western New York is already planning to make a switch from their current mascot and name of "Red Raiders"

The Jamestown School District announced earlier this year that they will revert back to the name "Big Red Cats" for the High School. The school first used "Big Red Cat" as a mascot back in the 1940s.

The move comes two years after the board of education voted to keep the nickname "Red Raiders" in 2021. The Jamestown High School had used the Native American moniker since the 1970s.

In a memo, the New York State Department of Education wants all Native American mascot usage by the end of the 2024-25 school season.

SED has consistently opposed the use of Native American mascots. 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.”

 

Jamestown will look to replace all usage of the old mascot and name within the next two years.

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