N.Y. State School Board Ousts Indian Nickname

Officials in the Penfield, N.Y., school district have decided that Penfield High School's "Chiefs" nickname and Indian-head logo offend Native Americans, and they will drop them from the school's teams.

Alumni of the school in suburban Rochester argued that dropping "Chiefs," which dates back to 1953, implies they had been wrong -- even racist -- in embracing the nickname.

Others acknowledged the school's Indian-head logo might have outlived its day. But they suggested retooling the nickname to honor chiefs generically, such as fire chiefs.

But Superintendent Susan Gray recommended a clean break. She said the word, when used as a sports nickname, is inevitably linked with American Indians.

On Tuesday, the Penfield Board of Education voted 7-0 to drop the nickname and logo.

The vote came less than a week after state Education Commissioner Richard Mills said the generations-old use of Indians for school nicknames and mascots should end.