Mascot Information

Dear Wantagh Community,  


On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, the New York State Department of Education adopted a new regulation regarding the prohibition of the use of indigenous names, mascots and logos by public schools. The regulation took effect yesterday, Wednesday, May 3, 2023. It states that, “no public school in the State of New York may utilize or display an Indigenous name, logo, or mascot other than for purposes of classroom instruction.” As a result of this new regulation, the Wantagh School District is one of approximately 60 school districts in New York State that is impacted. The current nickname for our school is “Warriors” and the logo includes a representation of a Native American figure


The Board of Education understands the emotion and pride our community, alumni and students have with respect to the Warrior name and logo. The Warrior name is not just how we refer to our sports teams. It is how generations of Wantagh students and community members have identified themselves - it's tradition. Once a Warrior, always a Warrior.  We hear you and share in your frustration caused by this new regulation. 

We do understand that the current logo may be offensive to indigenous people and that a change needs to be made. We do not want to offend anyone with our logo and will have a process in place to develop a new one that represents the pride we all have in our school district. The district will be removing the indigenous logo and imagery over the next two years as required by the regulation. A committee of various stakeholders, including students, alumni, and community members, will be recommending new imagery to replace that which is currently in place.

However, we firmly believe that the district’s Warrior name is not in violation of the new regulation that was established by the Board of Regents. The Warrior name does not fit into the definition in the new regulation, which states, 

“Indigenous name, logo, or mascot” means a name, symbol, or image that depicts or refers to Indigenous persons, tribes, nations, individuals, customs, symbols, or traditions, including actual or stereotypical aspects of Indigenous cultures, used to represent a public school, including but not limited to such school’s sports teams.”

Therefore, the district would like to retain the nickname and effectively rebrand it. We fully understand the removal of other names that fall within the regulations definition and include actual or stereotypical aspects of Indigenous cultures. However, Warrior does not fit into that category. We continue to hear the term vestige, meaning a trace or mark left by something that has vanished or no longer exists, being used as a reason for the change from the name Warrior. This, however, does not appear anywhere in the new regulation. The regulation does not state that a name that is a vestige of former indigenous imagery that falls into that category must be removed as well. The NYSED has made statements that Chenango Valley School District in Binghamton would not have to change the Warrior name because they use a Greek figure as their logo. This further indicates to us that NYSED does not believe the Warrior name itself is offensive or that it refers to Indigenous cultures or that it is inherently a vestige, and, therefore, it can be successfully rebranded. 

In addition, as we shared at our last planning session, the costs the district will incur as a result of this change are substantial. Our current estimates are over $600,000 if both the Warrior name and the imagery are changed. This cost is reduced significantly if the district removes the imagery only and rebrands the name. As this is an unfunded change that NYSED is placing upon only a handful of districts across the state, the cost savings by maintaining the name should be taken into consideration as well.

Again, while we fully understand the need to remove the current logo, the idea that the Warrior name is now a vestige and must be removed is where we believe the NYSED interpretation of the regulation goes one step too far. If other districts can successfully use the Warrior name with other non-indigenous imagery, why can’t the Wantagh School District? The Warrior name is not synonymous only with or indicative of the indigenous people and the BOE is confident that we can effectively rebrand it with input from our students, district staff and community members.  

To this end, we have retained outside legal counsel and initiated discussions around legal options should the NYSED take issue with the district’s plan. We have also reached out to other Warrior districts to learn how they may be proceeding and to determine if and how we can work together as our districts look to keep our Warrior name. Additionally, we have been in contact with the NYSED to discuss our approach but have not yet been successful in coming to an agreement.  

We look forward to a continued conversation with NYSED and will continue to keep our community informed as we proceed.




Laura Reich, Tara Cassidy, Adam Fisher, Anthony Greco and Jennifer Perfetti

Wantagh UFSD Board of Education



A Statement from the Wantagh School District Board of Education regarding NYSED Mascot Regulation, April 18, 2023:

The Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department approved a regulation today requiring New York State Schools with Native American mascots to begin the process of transitioning to a new mascot over the next two years. This new regulation requires our district to move away from the imagery currently being used. As a result, the district will begin a process to engage with all stakeholders to develop new imagery to represent our “Warrior” nickname. At this time, it is not the intent of the district to move away from the “Warrior” name, but to develop new imagery that will proudly represent our school community and honor our history. The process to develop new imagery will include community feedback through surveys and a committee largely led by our secondary students. 

Below you will find the documents released by the New York State Education Department on mascots:

NYSED Approved Regulation and Comments 4-18-23

NYSED Proposed Regulation 12-1-22

Memo From NYSED Senior Deputy Commissioner James Baldwin 11-17-22

 Memo from Commissioner Mills 4-5-01