Manhasset community polled for school district mascot change

Manhasset community polled for school district mascot change
Students circa 2018 standing by the Manhasset School District logo, which features a feather that would have to be removed under the state's regulation banning the use of Native Americans as mascots and their iconography in logos. (Photo courtesy of the Manhasset School District)

From April 15 through April 21 the Manhasset community will be polled on the selection of the Manhasset School District’s new mascot after state regulations adopted last year outlawed all school uses of Native Americans as mascots.

The three mascots that community members can choose from are the Eagles, the Manhasset, or “set,” and the Mavericks.

“Our objective is to create a team name that encapsulates Manhasset’s distinctive character, culture, traditions, and history and symbolizes our strive toward excellence while projecting a positive image for the Manhasset Public Schools,” Manhasset Superintendent Gaurav Passi wrote in a newsletter. “Our new teams’ name should be one all community members can proudly associate with.”

In April 2023, the New York Board of Regents voted to ban school districts from using Native American mascots, team names, logos and depictions.

School districts that utilize Native American mascots are required to make the change by the end of the 2023-2024 school year. If they fail to comply, then state funding will be withheld.

The state ban has drawn pushback from school districts throughout the state, with some going as far as to file lawsuits against the decision like the Massapequa School District, which claimed the regulation is unconstitutional.

The Manhasset School District has used the Native American mascot since its founding in 1920.

The history of Manhasset’s “Indian” mascot is traced back to the Matinecock Indian Tribe, a group that occupied a majority of the Town of North Hempstead.

The Matinecocks were forcibly removed from the territory, with Manhasset keeping the “Indian” mascot name along with an orange feather attached to the “M” in their logo and calling their newspaper “Indian Ink.”

A committee was developed in the wake of the state’s decision, including Manhasset School District personnel, parents, students, alumni and community members. The committee then conducted research and polls into what the mascot could be changed to.

Prior to facing the community poll, students were also polled on the mascot options.

The options were narrowed down to the proposed three after polling students in February. The students faced a list of eight options presented by the committee which they then ranked to select their top three.

If the Eagles are selected as the school mascot, the school would not be able to keep its logo of an “M” with a feather due to the association with Native Americans as prohibited under state law.

The “set” is a nickname already traditionally used by the school, which the school district said represents pride and strength in the community. If the Manhasset, or “set, is selected, then no traditional mascot would be used.

The third choice, Maverick, is typically a horse or bovine with wild and untamed attributes. It can also be defined as a person who acts independently and against the grain.

Regardless of which mascot is chosen, the district will be using the Manhasset “M” as its logo.

Community members can vote in the poll online until midnight on Sunday.

The school districts are responsible for the subsequent costs of changing their Native American-related uses.

While it will have to drop its mascot and logos that reference Native Americans, Passi previously said legacy and memorial items in the district are considered historical artifacts and will not be removed or changed.

The school district’s colors will also remain the same orange and blue.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here