Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Legislation Will Protect Race-Based Mascots in WI, by Sofia Beccarelli

A bill could change the process of schools choosing their mascots in Wisconsin, affecting Mukwonago High School and others, by forcing strict regulations.

A petition of signatures from people of the school district, above or equal to ten percent of the district student population,  have to be collected 120 days before the complaint is put forward, and a burden of proof must be placed on the complaint. A hearing must be held by the Department of Administration’s Division of Hearing Appeals, who makes the decision.

Assembly speaker Robin Vos stated “These changes are reasonable and address the concerns brought forth by all parties. It puts the proper mechanism in place for appeals from the community without putting an undue burden on school districts.”

A mascot that can be seen as discriminating a particular group can still remain as long as less than ten percent of the student population do not object to it.

Barbara Munson, one of the people who backed the law that restricts the race-based mascot’s states,
"This particular law is not constitutional and in fact is racist. This law is a form of discrimination."

Some believe that this new legislation, instead of being a form of discrimination will actually allow an opportunity for a partnership between the tribes and the school districts.

Sam Hall, a Mukwonago School District attorney, commended the legislation, stating “This proposal strikes the right balance in protecting the constitutional rights of local taxpayers and preserving local control of schools, while also restating that racial discrimination and harassment have no place in our schools”

The legislation will be considered in the coming weeks.