NYS intervenes in mascot debate

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CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Cambridge School District is temporarily barred from using its mascot after a stay order from the New York State Commissioner of Education was issued.

“I don’t think the commissioner was looking to find a school district to pick on,” said Superintendent Douglas Silvernell.

The push to erase the name and image of the “Indians” from the school district is under litigation. Until it’s resolved, Silvernell said they’re complying with the commissioner’s order to take down the mascot’s representation that won’t cost the school district excessive amounts of money.

“We removed digital imagery that could be replaced should the commissioner find in favor of this board,” Silvernell said.  

The fight to remove the mascot is more than a year in the making.

The stay order comes after the school board voted to take down the mascot in June. A newly elected school board voted to reinstate it in July. Then a group of community members petitioned the commissioner about the reinstatement of the mascot.  

“People in the community are a little confused that this is really a state and national level issue,” Silvernell said.  

The superintendent said the spotlight is ultimately on Cambridge because of the petition to the commissioner rather than the controversial nature of the matter.  

“We reviewed it for a long time and when the petition went in, it brought her attention to it,” Silvernell said. 

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