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Lawmakers Step In On School Mascot Issue

Supporters and opponents of the Paw Paw "Redskins" at a school board meeting in February
Sehvilla Mann

(MPRN-Lansing) Democrats in Lansing want to make schools get rid of mascots that may be considered racially insensitive. 

The legislation would prevent all kinds of potentially racially insensitive monikers – from the Escanaba Eskymos to the Athens Indians. Some schools say they aren’t racist and the communities have a proud history with these mascots. Democratic Senator Ian Conyers is a bill sponsor.

“I think the control of those appropriations, especially on high school levels, should be up to the people whose heritage is being defined.”

If a school wants to keep a mascot it would have to get a waiver from the state Board of Education and Department of Civil Rights – or risk financial penalties.

The mascot issue recently came up when Paw Paw school district wanted to keep its mascot – the Redskins. The school board voted to keep the nickname. Proponents say it is a point of pride and not racist.

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