OA School Community,
On Thursday, November 17, 2022, the New York State Education Department's Senior Deputy Commissioner, James N. Baldwin, sent out a memo to all school districts, effectively banning Native American mascots for use in public schools.
The Owego Apalachin Central School District is one of an estimated sixty school districts across the state that has a Native American mascot.
According to the letter from the State Education Department, "Should a district fail to affirmatively commit to replacing its Native American name, logo, and/or imagery by the end of the 2022-23 school year, it may be in willful violation of the Dignity Act."
School districts must comply by the end of the 2022-23 school year or face the withholding of state aid and removal of school officials from their positions.
Since receiving the memo on Thursday, we have communicated with our legal counsel and New York State Education Department officials for clarification to determine how we will proceed. We will also reach out to the area Tribal Nations with whom we have had dialogue over the years.
As we progress through this process, the district will continue communicating with stakeholders, community members, and families when updates and additional information become available.