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Citing a recent court ruling, the state Education Department is ordering public school districts to remove Native American nicknames and mascots by the end of the school year.
A memo sent to districts Thursday by James N. Baldwin, NYSED's senior deputy commissioner for education policy, said failure to comply with the directive could result in loss of state aid and the removal of school officers.
The directive comes after a recent state Supreme Court decision in a lawsuit that challenged Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa's determination that the Cambridge Central School District had to remove its "Indian" nickname, logo and mascot after residents appealed a school board action taken in July 2021. After Cambridge's board decided to retire the "Indians" mascot in June of that year, the board reversed the move after a new member was sworn into office, leading to an appeal to Rosa's office.
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