Wis. bill to forbid mascot stereotypes

May 3, 2010 at 5:47 PM
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MILWAUKEE, May 3 (UPI) -- Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle says he will sign a bill proponents call the nation's first ban on race-based team names and mascots in public schools.

The bill provides school district residents the mechanism to complain to the state Department of Public Instruction if they feel a race-based team name promoted stereotypes, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Sunday.

Chairwoman of the Indian Mascot and Logo Task Force Barb Munson said she hoped schools change their names and images proactively.

"It is a matter of time before school districts will want to change because they'll realize they're ... creating racial stereotypes," Munson said. "I think what this legislation really does is it takes down barriers between racial groups."

Principal Dale Henry representing the Mukwonago High School Indians said his school would fight any challenge.

"I feel we are being very respectful in the use of that logo," he told the newspaper.

State Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, said calling Mukwonago High School teams the Indians is "a tribute to the numerous Indian burial sites in the area."

But state Sen. Spencer Coggs, D-Milwaukee, who spent years trying to pass the bill, disagrees.

"The minority has to be heard," he said. "If it's offensive to the (American Indians), especially the (American Indians) in that area, then they need to be heard."

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