As the debate about retiring the Cambridge Indians mascot continues, the rhetoric from the pro-mascot side has sought to distort the role of the school board.
The New York State School Boards Association states: “With schoolchildren always their ultimate focus, school board members act officially at the board table, working with other board members to serve students.”
For at least the past five months, the Cambridge Board of Education has invited community input and reviewed a huge amount of material in preparation for the vote on whether to retire the mascot. As a result of their research, several board members have concluded that it’s no longer appropriate to have a Native mascot. It’s expected that the board will vote to retire the mascot in June.
Yet despite this thorough, open process, folks who want to keep the Indians mascot have started a petition, calling for a vote of no confidence for those board members who have indicated support for retiring the mascot. Is this how we thank our unpaid public servants when we disagree with them? Seeking to punish current board members’ due diligence doesn’t bode well for the interests of the students.
In addition to this petition of no confidence, the pro-mascot side is supporting two candidates for school board with the intention of reversing the expected decision. If they win, the community will not move on.
I hope the voters of the Cambridge school district will keep this in mind for the upcoming board elections. NYSSBA states that board members should be good listeners, consensus builders and team players. Let’s make sure we elect candidates who have those traits and will put the students — all of them — first.
Deborah Jaffe, Buskirk