Students work on a new mural on the wall of...

Students work on a new mural on the wall of a bagel shop next to Massapequa High School on May 24. It features the school's mascot, a Native American chief. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Mascot controversy gets fresh paint

As a longtime resident of Massapequa, about 60 years — and my wife is also a lifelong resident (and we’re graduates of Massapequa High School) — I was wondering how long it would take the state Department of Education’s “politically correct” police to lay siege to the Massapequa chief mural next to Massapequa High School [“New mural, but the old mascot,” News, May 25].

Massapequa is named after (and memorializes) the original native tribe, the Massapeag (great water land). I doubt any Massapequa resident doesn’t know this legacy. That mural adjacent to the high school has been lovingly refreshed every few years for as long as I can remember, honoring those original settlers.

The state Department of Education apparently believes that the word “chief” and depiction of a Native American is a slur rather than an honorific. I hope the state will get “educated” and rescind its ignorant edict.

— Craig Aarseth, Massapequa

How hard is it to understand that indigenous nations do not want their cultures to be appropriated for the purposes of sports teams’ logos and mascots?

No human culture should be trivialized and reduced to such parody. It is not “a tribute to a culture that refuses to be forgotten or dismantled” to plaster imagery on a football jersey or gymnasium wall.

These nations have expressed that they find the mascots to be offensive and demeaning, and they have repeatedly asked our school districts and the state Department of Education to stop this practice. That alone should be enough.

If schools truly want to honor their heritage, do it in the classroom by teaching about the true, shameful history of our nation’s massacre and dislocation of the indigenous population.

Ask members of the nations to discuss their cultural practices and the continuing challenges they face. Most important, listen to them and respect their wishes by eliminating indigenous mascots from the schools.

— Mike Brady, Kings Park

While driving past Manhasset High School, I noticed their mascot was the “Indians” and immediately felt something was very wrong. When I read the “State mascot ban is appropriate” editorial, I knew I wasn’t alone [Opinion, April 25]. It is absurd that in 2023 this is still a debate. No school should have the opportunity to mock a group of people by using one of their images.

As a graduating senior at Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, I know how offensive these mascots are. Learning about Native American history and the intense mistreatment of this group made me angry. I am even angrier that schools use this group as their mascot.

The consequences of schools losing their state funding is definitely a fair punishment.

— Lola Gitlin, Port Washington

Farmworkers’ rights must be respected

I could not agree more with “Farmworker rights must be respected” [Opinion, May 30]. The Bible, in essence, tells us that the worker is worthy of his wages. Paying people what they have earned is a no-brainer. The modest increase in prices should have no real impact on sales.

Those who enjoy the produce would not feel the effects of farm owners paying their workers what they earned.

I wonder if the owners considered what the cost of a boycott would have on their bottom line versus the cost of paying the workers what they deserved.

How would farm owners feel if consumers weren’t giving the owners what they think they deserved.

— Ken Swaner, East Patchogue

Armed guards can protect our students

The first anniversary of the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people, including 19 children, were killed took place two weeks ago [“Uvalde concerns unresolved,” Nation, May 25]. Little has changed regarding nationwide school security.

Most government buildings and offices throughout the country not only have armed guards but also detectors and scanners. One cannot attend a professional or collegiate sporting event in this country without being checked.

Yet how many of our most precious, our children, are not being protected with armed school guards due to principle and politics? Our elected officials should propose legislation to have at least one armed guard in every U.S. public school. To not do so is negligent.

We must not allow another Uvalde to happen again.

— Claude Kasman, Nesconset

Don’t judge a group by some bad apples

A reader seems to make an assumption that all priests are child molesters and “groomers” “Parents should worry about these groomers,” Letters, May 26]. We do not reject our religion because some have abused or perverted it just as we do not reject sports because some players cheat.

Countless numbers of Catholics worldwide are making or have made a difference. There are Catholic hospitals, charities, food banks and operations whose purpose is to help people of all denominations.

This reader shows concern about vilifying drag performances but seems fine with vilifying the Catholic Church.

— Carol Rosenthal, West Islip

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