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RCS awaiting 'options' before doing away with offensive team name, mascot

Dec 20, 2022 1:00 am

Melanie Lekocevic reports for Capital Region Independent Media that the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk school district is in a holding pattern over the future of the Indians team name and mascot while awaiting additional guidance from the state. Superintendent Brian Bailey told the board of education at its December 14 meeting that districts have been promised more information and answers to their questions about the requirement to change team names, mascots, and imagery that references indigenous people. “We’ve been promised additional guidance from the State Education Department,” Bailey told the board. The Education Department issued a memo in November, requiring all schools to eliminate such imagery or risk losing their state aid, among other consequences. “We need to know to what extent districts are mandated to do this,” Bailey said. “We’ve seen the ultimatum that was in the initial release, which was the potential loss of state aid, which for us is $26 million a year, half of our budget, and the removal of all district leaders for failing to follow the directive.” The changes must be instituted by the close of the 2022-23 school year. There are 60 districts statewide that will be required to make the change under the current mandate. “I’ve already received communication from members of the community and graduates and [students] currently enrolled,” Bailey said. “... I think to watch how the regulations develop is the relevant thing and then once we have good guidance, we’ll have a conversation as a community and decide what we’re going to do next.” Student input will be sought once the district decides on how it will move forward, he added. In 2021, the Coxsackie-Athens district retired its name and imagery, also the “Indians,” after an extended and heated controversy in the community. That mascot was dropped and the team was renamed the Riverhawks after a survey was conducted in the community to come up with a new name. Read more about this story at TheUpstater.com.

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