State orders school districts to retire Native American team names, mascots or risk loss of funding

At least two school districts in the Hudson Valley are out of compliance.

News 12 Staff

Nov 18, 2022, 10:47 PM

Updated 547 days ago


The state is ordering school districts to retire their Native American teams or mascots names - or risk losing state funding. 
At least two school districts in the Hudson Valley are out of compliance. 
Mahopac High School is home to the Indians. Wappingers also uses Indians as a its high school team name. 
The mascot issue has been before the school board in Wappingers many times, but the district never made the change.
The memo that went to all New York school districts references a 2001 directive to change these mascots, and states some districts haven't complied for the last 21 years.
It also states that a recent court decision involving a separate upstate district that refused to retire its team name -also the Indians - strengthened what was a directive into an order. 
News 12 reached out to superintendents in the Wappingers and Mahopac school districts. 
Dwight Bonk, of Wappingers, said "we have received the memo and are consulting with school attorneys on the next steps,"
Christine Tona, of Mahopac, says "we will review the memo with counsel. At some point, we will consult with the Board of Education."
Non-compliant districts that don't change mascots by June could lose more than funding. The memo states that penalties could also include the removal of some school officers.

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