Urgent: week of May 28

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Messages which absolutely need to be seen today due to time constraints or breaking news. Remember to check the"new answers" link for the most active topics. This topic will run for a week, and then we will start a new dated "urgent" file.

-- Anonymous, May 29, 2000


Here's a copy of the existing school district policy: The District shall authorize no use of its official name, its high school name or the name of any other schools for commercial, or other outside purposes without the explicit public approval of the Board of Education. Any request for use of the District's name or image or any request from any commercial operation to use District sites for commercial purposes shall not be authorized without Board approval.

No such approval shall be given unless a request is presented to the Board 30 days in advance of the contemplated use. There shall be no change in the District's logo, name or any District image without a proposal for such use presented to the Board at least 30 days in advance.

The District shall take whatever steps are necessary for Internet registration in order to preserve the name of the Onteora Central School District or any of its images from commercial use.

It shall be the District's policy not to allow the use of ethnic groups or races as school symbols, logos or mascots.

Approved 5-2.

-- Anonymous, May 29, 2000

Here's the Freeman article for those who missed it (or the email I sent) Kingston Daily FreemanMay 31, 2000

State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said Tuesday he is planning to issue a finding soon on a matter relating to the Indian mascot in the Onteora school district, but he would not indicate what the opinion would say. Mills also told those attending a Chamber of Commerce of Ulster County breakfast about a plan by the state Regents to implement a Regents diploma for students in vocational and technical studies.

As about a dozen demonstrators picketed the front of the Holiday Inn, protesting the Onteora districts Indian mascot, Mills addressed the topic inside. The subject is an important one, he told audience member Dennis Yerry, who asked what was being done to eliminate discrimination in public schools. I am close to releasing my finding.

Yerry objected to the longtime district symbol, which he called a derogatory stereotype. The school board voted narrowly earlier this year to abolish the mascot; three candidates who favor retaining the Indian were elected earlier this month. Mills would not say what his announcement would contain, but told the crowd, Something has happened thats very positive. Theres deep controversy perhaps the other way going on here. Professional and collegiate teams are re-examining this, as are many school boards.

He said he did not grant the petitioner in the Onteora-type case a hearing, but said the issue warranted a response, which could be an opinion, a binding guideline, or something in between. He said the finding could come in two weeks. I dont feel that comparing our situation to professional teams is appropriate, Yerry said later. You can decide to go to a Washington Redskins game or not. Thats not true in public school.

Mills received support for technical students achieving Regents standards. It will not be a vocational diploma, but a vocational path to a Regents diploma, he said. Those expecting an easier way out will be disappointed. He spoke of a vocational student whod made an inlaid table, complete with a book of plans, who said he couldnt pass the English Regents exam, now required for all graduating seniors. Mills described taking the notebook and saying, This is English. Recently, he again met the student  who had passed the Regents.

Its vital for all students to be exposed to academic as well as technical skills, Ulster County School-to-Work Coordinator Nancy Lynch said of the plan. Mills said the Regents will consider the blueprint at their next meeting, June 12-13, then hold public comment sessions on it around the state. Lynchs son Tom, a 16-year-old sophomore from Saugerties, said hed been interested in Board of Cooperative Educational Services technical training but felt peer pressure to take the Regents track. Stereotypically, people who go to BOCES are not the smartest, he said. Its not right.

Hugh Reynolds' Column 5/31/00

With the Onteora school district controversy on the front-burner, State Education Commissioner Richard Mills wouldnt tell the Chamber audience what his recommendation would be on Indian mascots, but he was clearly leaning toward an official state ban.

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2000

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