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New York schools told to change names, mascots by end of year or lose state aid

Native American-affiliated mascots and names in school districts across New York must be changed.

The state Department of Education said the changes need to be made by the end of the school year.

The Canisteo-Greenwood Central School District will be among those that need to change their names. Officials say they wanted to have a conversation with the community about the name, but the new timeline pushed by the state will force an acceleration.


“I’m thinking it’s more along the lines of asking schools to affirmatively commit by the end of this school year that they will change the mascot,” Superintendent Tom Crook told RochesterFirst.com. “It’s going to cost money as well, quite a bit, I know that’s a major concern for many districts out there and boards. How are we going to pay for this?”

There are an array of penalties school districts could face if they do not comply by the end of the year. Withholding of state aid and removal of school officers is top-among them.

Locally, the Waterloo Central School District recently changed its mascot to comply with state standards. The request itself is not new. In fact, state leaders, advocates, and lawmakers have been asking districts to change their mascots or names that reference Native Americans for years. The first legislation on this front was signed into law in the early-2000s.



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