NYSED Decision on School Mascots; What it Means for FFCS

On Tuesday, April 18, the state Board of Regents unanimously voted to approve a measure requiring schools with Native American mascots, imagery, or logos to remove them from use in their districts. This regulation became official on May 3, 2023.   For FFCS, this means we will no longer be able to use the Braves name and any Native American imagery.  As a district, we have worked within the parameters of the Board of Regents’ requirements to seek permission to retain the Braves name as we shared back in March.  At that time FFCS was told that we would not be allowed to use the name Braves or any variation of this word and that we should comply with the new regulation parameters and timeline as we rebrand.

The following are key takeaways and timelines associated with this regulation and the comments responded to by the Board of Regents after their vote on April 18.  That document can be found here.

  • The following language was provided related to the state’s regulation on our timeframe to eliminate the use of Braves: “Boards of education must commit, via resolution, to eliminating the use of all Indigenous names, logos, and mascots by the end of the 2022-23 school year. Such resolution shall identify a plan to eliminate all use of the prohibited name, logo, or mascot within a reasonable time, which shall be no later than the end of the 2024-2025 school year.”
  • With respect to an appeals process, the regulation places “the responsibility of eliminating Indigenous team names, logos, or mascots on local school boards.  There is no appeals process.  Therefore, it is the responsibility of each school board to determine the applicability of the regulation and ensure their district’s compliance.  If a school district refuses to take action, the Department will notify the school district to attempt to achieve compliance.  The Department anticipates that school districts will cooperate in good faith.  If that cannot be accomplished, the statutory means of enforcement will include removal of school officers and withholding of state aid” (this amounts to approximately $13 million for FFCS).
  • The Department has responded to comments on how schools will pay for the removal of names, mascots and imagery that would need to be removed or replaced over the next two years.  They have stated that these costs will be incurred by districts unless they can support these changes through the utilization of Building Aid.  FFCS is still working to gather information on this process and will be lobbying for a change.

How will we move forward?

We are still awaiting the FAQ and updated release of this Part 123 regulation.  However, the district feels we have enough information to host an information session for our students, staff, and community.  FFCS would like to invite its entire school community to an information session on Monday, May 22 at 6PM in the HS auditorium. The goal of this forum will be to provide information, answer questions and explain the process moving forward. If you cannot attend we will be sharing updates through ParentSquare messages and posting information on our website.