Via Indian Country Today: Simmons: Racist Mascots Negate Your School’s Anti-Bullying, Anti-Harassment Policies

An excerpt:

As a human resource professional, my job is to listen to my clients and consult with them on issues that are occurring within their business. When issues arise, our first question is always: What does your policy state? HR professionals are known to the outside world as the policy pushers. We work with our clients to strengthen the policy and consult on how to enforce the rules within their organization. Defunct policies can cost corporations millions. It’s best practice to have an employee handbook as this gives the employee a guideline to follow and reiterate the company’s values.

Many schools adhere to these same standards; their handbooks include attendance policies, clothing, grade point averages and rules against plagiarism. Because of teen suicide and bullying, schools across the country have adopted anti-discrimination/anti-bullying policies to hold perpetrators accountable for inflicting harm on another student. But what happens when the anti-bullying policy is negated by your racially based mascot?

Bullying is when a person uses their superiority or strength to intimidate someone. An article states bullying is often based on perceived differences, such as ethnicity, sex or disability. When your school has a racial mascot, you are committing the same injustice you use to protect your students. We have people in power, using their superiority to affect someone based on their perceived differences.

Students are asked not to wear t-shirts with political messages or provocative clothing, but you allow your entire student body to wear stereotypical images of Native Americans? When it gets to this caliber, and an entire student body is partaking in these types of bullying, it’s called mobbing. It should be common knowledge that thousands of students, Indigenous and ally, speak out against these mascots. Across the country, schools are changing their mascots because of the harm they cause. No child should have to bear the brunt of stereotyping because the people in power (i.e., the administration) cannot see what they are doing to their students.

Native American mascots fall under the category of passive racism, which is considered “socially acceptable.” This depends on who is asked, but it’s even worse when it’s sanctioned by adults on the school board, the administration and the parents. Racial mascots are not just a school issue; it’s an entire community that is broadcasting these stereotypical behaviors. This mob mentality affects more than just the students they stereotype; it also affects the students who come to school to learn.

Dr. Michael Friedman published a piece in Psychology Today tying disparaging Native American mascots to the practice of bullying. “By using the R-word despite the repeated public protests by the Native American community,” Friedman writes, “the Washington team and NFL are bullying Native Americans and getting away with it.” This also incorporates colleges, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools that have stereotypical Native American mascots.

To read the entire article, click here.

U.S. Department of Education Names Committee Members to Draft Proposed Regulations for Every Student Succeeds Act

TEDNA Member Representative Leslie Harper Named Tribal Leadership Negotiator on ESSA Rulemaking Committee

The U.S. Department of Education today named committee members who will draft proposed regulations in two areas of Title I, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This is the latest step in the process of implementing ESSA.

“We look forward to working with the committee to promote equity and excellence for all students by providing states and school districts with timely regulations so that they can plan ahead and support students and educators,” said Ann Whalen, senior advisor to the secretary, delegated the duties of the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.

ESSA replaces the outdated No Child Left Behind law and expands on the work this Administration, states, districts and schools across the country have already started. The new law will help build on key progress that we’ve made in education over recent years—including a record high school graduation rate of 82 percent, significant expansion of high-quality preschool, and a million more African American and Hispanic students enrolled in college than in 2008, when President Obama took office.

ESSA promotes equitable access to educational opportunities in critical ways, such as asking states to hold all students to high academic standards to prepare them for college and careers and ensuring action in the lowest-performing schools, high schools with low graduation rates, and in schools that are consistently failing subgroups of students. Maintaining effective, high-quality assessments and ensuring that all states and districts know how to meet the updated “supplement not supplant” requirement are crucial to achieving these objectives.

For more information, click here.


The Office of Indian Education announces on Monday, February 29, 2016 the availability of the 2016 Native Youth Community Projects applicaton. The announcement published today, February 29, 2016 and will close May 31, 2016. The 2016 competition is the second year under the Native Youth Community Projects priority under the demonstration program. In 2015 twelve applications were funded for a period up to four years. For 2016, however, there will be additional funding for additional projects to be funded, expanding even further, the college and career ready capability of local tribal communities.

The Notice Inviting Application was published in the Federal Register on February 29, 2016 and is available at this link:

For more information you may check the Demonstration Grant program page here:

A new press releases was issued on Monday, Feb 29 regarding the Native Youth Community Projects competition for 2016. You may find the press release at this link:
. (February 29, 2016)


The Office of Indian Education will host a series of online webinar sessions for the 2016 NYCP competition. The first webinar is scheduled for March 9, 2016 and titled Native Youth Community Projects Pre-Application Webinar Session. You are invited to participate in a webinar event sponsored and presented by the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Indian Education, and coordinated by The Millennium Group International (TMG) Technical Assistance Team.

This webinar will be the first in a series of five webinar presentations designed to support you through the Native Youth Community Project (NYCP) 2016 application process. It is designed to present an overview of the NYCP grant competition and effective, practical, and realistic strategies on the grant application process. This 90 minute webinar will focus on understanding the NYCP application and will be presented on March 9, 2016 at 2:00 PM EST. The webinar aims to build knowledge of applying for federal grants, highlight federal grant resources, address applicant concerns, and increase participants’ feelings of efficacy around federal grant application submission.

Registration for the Webinar is now open and will remain open until 1:00 PM EST on March 9, 2016.

To register, please visit: GoToWebinar is an on-line registration service and will provide immediate confirmation upon registration.

Webinar Topic: Telling Your Story: Understanding the NYCP Application & What It Can Do for Your Community
Date: March 9, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM EST

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 BIE Part B 2016 Grant Award Application

Under the General Education Provisions Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is required to publish their annual Part B Grant Award application for 60 days, of which 30 days must be allowed to accept public
comment. The application for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2016 includes the required assurances and certifications for the BIE to be eligible to receive the FFY 2016 Part B funds.

The application includes assurances and provisions which the state can and/or cannot make as mandated by Part B oflDEA in order to provide the appropriate services to Indian children with disabilities who are enrolled in Bureau funded schools, including Tribal Contract and Grant schools. Also included are the certifications and other information pertinent to the application. The BIE Part B Grant Award application is posted beginning March 2, 2016, and ending May 2, 2016. The public comment period starts April 2, 2016 and ends May 1, 2016.

For more information, click here.