NYSED releases official guidance on ban of indigenous mascots, logos in schools

The State Education Department has released long-awaited guidance following the ban of Native American mascots, team names and logos in public schools.
The regulation could affect more than a dozen school districts on Long Island and local school boards bear the responsibility of determining whether their team names, logos or mascots are prohibited by the measure.
In extreme cases, school districts could lose state funding or have their leaders removed for failure to comply. According to the 11-page document released by New York State Education Department, legacy items like trophies and banners are exempt, but clothing is not.
Schools can apply for Building Aid to help offset the costs of rebranding, but it is unclear if that state funding would also cover new uniforms.
“You’re talking about hundreds, thousands, of uniforms because remember every sport has a home and away,” said Patrick Pizzarelli, Section VIII Executive Director. “A lot of them have home and away jerseys and shorts or pants. If you’re going to really follow the letter of the law and have to get rid of it all, it’s a big deal.”
Schools, like the Wantagh Warriors, will not be allowed to keep their teams’ names under these regulations even if they develop new imagery.
“Those districts that currently use, or previously used team names associated with Indigenous imagery or symbols must change their team's name,” the guidance states. “Continued use of the vestiges of these names and/or images, either explicitly or implicitly, contributes to the continued stereotyping, caricaturing, and denigration of Indigenous peoples.”
Though the guidelines have been met with controversy, the ground rules of good sportsmanship still apply.
“That’s my concern. Let’s not make it a distraction for the kids,” said Pizzarelli. “Let the kids just go out there and play whatever sport they’re playing to the best of their ability.”
School boards have until June 30 of this year to pass a resolution that outlines their commitment to the regulation. Physical changes must be made by June 30, 2025. Individuals can file an appeal to the Commissioner of Education if they think their district is not complying.