State Sen. Wants To Allor Four Schools To Keep Mascots

Sen. Alexis Weik, R-Bohemia, speaks on the Senate floor during the 2023 legislative session.

A state senator wants to exempt four schools in her district from the state’s ban on indigenous names, mascots and logos.

Sen. Alexis Weik, R-Bohemia, recently introduced four bills – S. 9242, S.9243, S.9244 and S.9245 – to allow the Connetquot, Amityville, Massapequa and East Islip Union Free school districts to use imagery the state Education Department has ruled can’t be used. Three of the schools – Massapequa, Connetquot and Amityville – filed federal lawsuits last year seeking to keep their prior nicknames.

In the case of Amityville, Weik argues the district should be able to use the nickname Warriors as well as a logo and mascot while Massapequa should be allowed to remain the Chiefs. Connetquot and East Islip, she said, should be allowed to choose their nickname without interference from the state Education Department. In addition to arguing that the nicknames aren’t exclusively used in connection with indigenous nations, Weik said the decision should be made locally.

“Since this directive is another unfunded state mandate, the decision on any change should be made by the local taxpayers,” Weik wrote in her legislative justification for all four bills. “The Education Department should not be involved in these local decisions.”

The Jamestown Public Schools District and the Chautauqua Lake Central School District have chosen new nicknames in recent months after the state Education Department said they would no longer be allowed to keep the names Raiders and Thunderbirds, respectively.

Chautauqua Lake Central School in October chose to change its mascot to the Eagles. Chautauqua Lake Central School was formed in 1996, when the Chautauqua and Mayville school districts merged. Before the merger, Mayville Central School’s mascot was the Golden Eagles. Chautauqua Central School’s mascot was the Indians. When the two schools merged, Thunderbirds was chosen for the new district, in part because it was meant to be a merger of the two mascots.

Jamestown chose the Red and Green after a lengthy process. Red and green have long been Jamestown High School’s colors and the Red & Green was the high school’s first known nickname from 1905 to 1935 prior to the introduction of the “big cat” logo first seen in the 1940s. Red & Green has also been the name of the Jamestown High School yearbook for decades. Jamestown had transitioned away from Native American imagery but had kept the nickname Red Raiders until the state said it had to change. Jamestown then adopted a “big cat” mascot and logo that was adopted in 2022, and then ended its use of the nickname Red Raiders earlier this year. Money has been included in the district’s 2024-25 budget to begin the transition from Red Raiders.


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