LYME, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Lyme Central School District has initiated its mascot change.
In a memorandum in late January 2022, Lyme Central School District Superintendent Cammy J. Morrison announced that the District will begin steps to changing its “Indians” mascot, logo and nickname.
According to Morrison, this official change is following requests from the National Congress of American Indians and developments in New York State.
“While I understand there will be a plethora of views and emotions shown for and against a mascot change, we too must recognize and consider what actions and behaviors are socially acceptable and appropriate in current times,” Morrison said in her memorandum.
Superintendent Morrison previously issued a message to the District’s families in October 2021 regarding communication the District received from the NCAI.
This communication read:
On behalf of the National Congress of American Indians, I am writing in respone to a request for assistance that we received from a member of the Lyme Central School community regarding the district’s use ot its “Indians” mascot. This individual asked in NCAI would provide school and sistrict adminsitrators with some general information about the facts concerning the harms cause by the continued use of Native “themed” mascots in sports and popular culture…
Morrison also shared in her memorandum recent developments regarding the use of Native American mascots that have occurred in recent months, looking at how avoiding a mascot change could affect the Lyme Central School District.
Specifically, on August 23, 2021, New York State issued a stay order against the Cambridge Central School District over its decision to rescind a Board decision to remove a Native American mascot and logo. Then on November 29, The Commissioner of Education issued her final decision on the logo, stating to “end the use of Native American mascots as soon as practical.”
The Education Commissioner also said that if the Native American mascot and logo was not removed, the Cambridge School District would face consequences, which included, but was not limited to, the potential loss of state aid.
Lyme Superintendent Morrison said that while this directive from the Commissioner was “a compelling enough reason to impose a mascot change,” she suggested that the District should change Lyme’s mascot regardless.
“Making this change, at this time, clearly demonstrates our mutual respect for all diverse groups inside and outside of the community,” Morrison expressed.
“It is not in the best interest of the district to wait until the Commissioner specifically directs Lyme Central to comply,” Morrison added. “I believe that resisting this change will be a failure to embrace the opportunity that is before us as a school and a community.”
The Lyme Central School District will now be engaging with the local community and interested stakeholders to discuss a logo, mascot and nickname change. It will also be accepting ideas from students to identify new ideas.
A timeline for this change has yet to be released.