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Politics & Government

New Standards Proposed for Changing School Mascots

Republican legislators are proposing four requirements for changing a school mascot in Wisconsin. Until now, just one person had to object, on the basis of race.

The issue heated up in the Mukwonago School District - its nickname has long been "Indians." Some residents have objected to changing the name, despite an objection filed.

Under the policy the Dept. of Public Instruction approved a few years ago, schools must change their mascots related to Native Americans, if anyone in the district is offended by a related nickname. One Mukwonago resident did file a complaint.

District leaders and citizens contend a required change would be costly and change community tradition.

According to the bill four GOP lawmakers unveiled Thursday, complainants about race-based mascots would have to meet four conditions, to force a school district to change:

1. Gather signatures equal to 10 percent of the school district's student population

2. Gather those signatures within 120 days

3. Testify at a hearing the state Dept. of Administration would conduct

4. Prove that a school nickname is injurious

The four sponsors are Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Sen. Mary Lazich and Reps. Stephen Nass and Dave Craig. They expect the Legislature to consider their plan this fall.