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New York Department of Education to suspend aid to schools with Native American mascots

The New York Department of Education will end support for 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 every school district in the Empire State, the department has “constantly opposed” Native American mascots, citing a 2001 memo “concluding[ing] that the use of Native American symbols or representations as mascots can become a barrier to building a safe and nurturing school community and improving academic achievement for all students.

While most districts have complied with the memorandum, several have not. Cambridge Central School District initially voted to drop its team name “Indians”, but reversed with the seat of a new school board member.

According to a court case involving the district, a judge ruled that the school district’s failure to comply with the 2001 memorandum was an “abuse of power.” The ministry’s new memorandum takes the decision to mean that the argument that these mascots are “respectful” is “no longer tenable”.

Failure to comply, the department threatens, can result in “the removal of school officers and the suspension of state aid.”

“Schools are learning environments; students learn as much through observation of their environment as through direct instruction,” concludes Baldwin. “In addition to their legal obligations, school boards that continue to use Native American mascots must consider the message their choices send to students, parents, and their communities.”

Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.

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