BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York public schools that don’t commit to getting rid of their Native American mascots by the end of the 2022-2023 school year face repercussions. The State Education Department announced this in a memo sent to schools in November.

A court decision in June established that public schools will be prohibited from using Native American mascots going forward. If schools do not comply by the end of this school year, they will be in violation of the Dignity Act. As a result, they risk the removal of school officers or the withholding of state aid.

The SED stated that “schools that continue to utilize Native American team names, logos, and/or imagery without current approval from a recognized tribe must immediately come into
compliance” as well as that they are developing regulations to outline schools’ obligations regarding a change. Arguments that community members support the use of the mascot or that it is “respectful” to Native Americans are no longer able to be used as defenses.