On November 17, 2022, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education, James Baldwin, issued a memo to all school districts across the state regarding a ban on the use of Native American Mascots. While our mascot (adopted about ten years ago) is a red-tailed hawk named "Swoop", the details of the memo include ceasing the use of Native American imagery and team names.
Toward the end of Baldwin's memo, he states that "[t]he Department is developing regulations that will clarify school districts' obligations in this respect." MECS uses the name "Warriors" and utilizes a logo that incorporates feathers and arrowheads. The current logo was created by a graphic designer (and MECS alum) in the winter of 2020 after researching our history, meeting with students, and reviewing results from various surveys. The new design was identified as an honorable depiction to replace the discontinued illustration of a Native American with a headdress.
The meanings identified within the adopted image include health, protection, peace, friendship, toughness, our roots, and community connectiveness. A presentation was made by the graphic designer to the student body in the Spring of 2020 explaining how each of these elements were reflected in her design.
MECS will adapt its imagery again to meet the regulations (when developed) if our logo, team name, and/or other artwork is out of compliance. Calls have been placed to the Oneida Indian Nation to seek their input on our design. Even if our design and "Warrior" name meets the requirements of the State Education Department, we would like to ensure that our depictions don't marginalize any of our students, community members, or neighbors.
We will continue to monitor the news, attempt to contact the Nation Chief, and make proposals to adjustment as necessary. If a change to any of our imagery/name are required, a plan will be established to gather community input.