Education

Controversy erupts over new High School team logo: Complaints flare about changes to gym floor

A controversy has emerged among some residents over a newly installed school gym floor logo to reflect the change in the name for athletic teams from Indians to Islanders.

When the name change was first announced in November, plans called for eventual replacement of the colorful Indian logo on the gym floor. Not everyone is happy with the replacement logo that cost the school district $5,250, with funds coming from the plant operations budget.

Questions from several sources asked how the new logo was chosen and why work was done without input from the community.

Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D., released a list of steps that were taken in the process of adopting the new logo and work done to place it on the gym floor.

The whole process of changing the name started in August. A committee, including Athletic Director Todd Gulluscio, Sherri Cavasini, Cliff Clark, Dayla Reyes, Valeria Reyes, Jalill Carter and Brandon Velasquez, recommended the name change in line with survey results and said a map of the Island would become the new logo.

On Nov. 2, Mr. Doelger, Board of Education President Kathleen Lynch and member Margaret Colligan reviewed the presentation that would be made public later that month at a Board meeting.

On Nov. 19, an email was sent to all students asking for further input on a new logo. There were also multiple announcements and outreaches for student responses. On Dec. 7, the Board of Education formally approved the name change and new logo.

Committee members who had worked with school officials from the outset of the process received emails with the new name and logo.

Work on the gym floor began on Dec. 18 with a blue water outline added to the original logo to cover up headdress feathers from the old logo. Work was completed on Dec. 20.

Whether that explanation will satisfy those who have criticized the new floor image remains to be seen since the time line was released Tuesday morning in response to a request at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

LET’S PLAY

“Life is back,” Athletic Director Todd Gulluscio announced at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting. Under regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been juggling responses from New York State on what school sports could or couldn’t resume with changes happening sometimes several times in a day.

Finally, after many starts and stops, the state issued the latest decision allowing sports to start up.

Coaches and athletes received rapid COVID-19 tests Monday and all tested negative. All will be temperature screened at every practice session.

No spectators will be allowed at games or meets; those who want to watch the events can do so through the NFHS Network, which is accessible from the Athletic Department area on the school’s website. Shelter Island subscribed to the NFHS Network prior to the pandemic so relatives and friends can watch the sports events.

The sports schedule for the week ahead is as follows:

Saturday, Feb. 13:

11 a.m., Boys Varsity Winter Track  at Elwood/Glenn

3:00 p.m., Junior Varsity Boys Basketball at Greenport

4:30 p.m., Varsity Boys Basketball at Greenport

Sunday, Feb. 14:

11:00 a.m., Varsity Boys Winter Track vs. Hampton Bays at home

11:00 a.m., Varsity Girls Winter Track at Hampton Bays

Monday, Feb. 15:

Noon, Varsity Boys Basketball vs. Bridgehampton at home

3:00 p.m., Varsity Girls Basketball vs. Greenport/Southold at home

Wednesday, Feb. 17:

10:00 a.m., Varsity Girls Basketball vs. Southold at home

Noon, Varsity Boys Basketball vs. Southold at home

Friday, Feb. 19:

10:00 a.m., Varsity Girls Basketball vs. Mattituck at home

Noon, Varsity Boys Basketball at Bridgehampton

In other actions, the Board of Education:

• Agreed to hear from students about changes they would like to see in the school’s dress code. Among the issues student leaders have discussed with Mr. Doelger are allowance for more gender neutral clothing; a clarification of enforcement procedures the students currently say differ from teacher to teacher; and elimination of the policy banning open-toed shoes.

• Will continue to monitor COVID circumstances as senior class members explore the possibility of a class trip. The students are interested in a three-day trip to Boston.

• Heard from Mr. Doelger that teacher Janine Mahoney is looking at the possibility of arranging a one-day excursion for students aboard a schooner. In past years, the schooner trip has been a three-day event, something considered impossible during the pandemic. The boat would come to the Island for the students to board for a day trip. If the trip goes forward, it would be financed with money from the Shelter Island Educational Foundation.