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State may reimburse schools forced to drop mascot names

2:23 AM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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State Rep. Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck)

LANSING, Mich. (FREEP) -- Two Republican lawmakers want to make the Michigan Department of Civil Rights pay if schools are forced to drop their American Indian mascots and nicknames.

The department earlier this year filed a federal complaint asking the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to issue an order prohibiting the use of American Indian mascots, names, nicknames, slogans, chants and imagery.

Thirty-five Michigan schools were cited in the complaint. But if the complaint is successful, it would impact schools across the nation.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, and Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, would create a $3-million Mascot Reimbursement Fund. The fund would cover the expenses of schools that have to change their mascots.

The money to create the fund would come from the the budget of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR).

"The civil rights department filed its complaint independently, without input from local citizens, so it can pay for any necessary changes it may have caused," Genetski said in a news release today. "Our schools need all of their funding focused in the classroom educating our children, not being taken up by somebody's special pet project."

Lauwers, in the same release, said he hopes nothing comes of the "misguided" complaint, "but a plan must be in place if the feds do require schools to change mascots."

The MDCR complaint was filed in response to new research the department said shows the use of American Indian imagery negatively impacts student learning.

A spokesperson for the MDCR could not immediately be reached for comment.

These Michigan schools currently have American Indian mascots and nicknames.

Metro Detroit schools

• Brother Rice Warriors (Oakland County)

• Chippewa Valley Big Reds (Macomb)

• New Boston Huron Chiefs (Wayne)

• Plymouth Canton Chiefs (Wayne)

• Utica Chieftains (Macomb)

• Walled Lake Western Warriors (Oakland)

• Woodhaven Brownstown Warriors (Wayne)

Schools from across the rest of the state

• Athens Indians (Calhoun County)

• Bay City Western Warriors (Bay)

• Belding Redskins (Ionia)

• Camden-Frontier Redskins (Hillsdale)

• Capac Chiefs (St. Clair)

• Cheboygan Chiefs (Cheboygan)

• Chesaning Indians (Saginaw)

• Clinton Redskins (Lenawee)

• Dowagiac Chieftains (Cass)

• Gladstone Braves (Delta)

• Grass Lake Warriors (Jackson)

• Hartford Indians (Van Buren)

• Kinde-North Huron Warriors (Huron)

• Lansing Sexton Big Reds (Ingham)

• Marquette Redmen/Redettes (Marquette)

• Morley-Stanwood Mohawks (Mecosta)

• Newberry Indians (Luce)

• Paw Paw Redskins (Van Buren)

• Port Huron Big Reds (St. Clair)

• Remus Chippewa Hills Warriors (Mecosta)

• Sandusky Redskins (Sanilac)

• Saranac Redskins (Ionia)

• Saugatuck Indians (Allegan)

• Tawas (City) Area Braves (Iosco)

• Tecumseh Indians (Lenawee)

• Tekonsha Indians (Calhoun)

• White Cloud Indians (Newaygo)

• White Pigeon Chiefs (St. Joseph)

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