MENOMONIE, WI (WEAU) Controversy is beginning to brew over a proposal to change the Menomonie School District’s mascot.
The school board said it is taking action before someone files a complaint against the mascot, which some say is racist.
WEAU 13 News spoke to Menomonie School Board President Colleen Davis on Monday.
Davis said the school district is no stranger to the controversy that its “Indian” mascot draws.
Davis said in 1997 the mascot was repealed for a short time in favor of the “Mustangs”.
“It did get changed and then it went to referendum. And the community voted. There was a school board recall. Three members were recalled and it was changed back,” Davis said.
Now the district is facing a law that went into effect in May, 2010.
The law says if someone complains that a school’s mascot is racially insensitive, the district must determine if the mascot promotes discrimination, student harassment or stereotyping.
If the mascot is deemed racially insensitive, it must immediately be pulled from school activities.
“If the complaint comes we’ll have 45 days to choose to either try to fight the law or just move ahead. I don’t think there is one taxpayer in this town that is willing to spend $1,000 a day to fight it,” Davis said.
Although there haven’t been any formal complains reported, the school board said it’s acting on a recent University of Wisconsin-Stout forum which called for an end to Menomonie’s “Indian” mascot.
“I think we want to be able to do it on our own time. We want to be able to retire it. We want to be able to do it without the state saying you have to do it,” Davis said.
The school board president said the board will start talking about the matter Monday night, but won’t vote on the mascot change until sometime in June.
“It really is about the kids. We just don't just plan to do away with it. We do plan to put it in history. Our kids are important too. We want them to have something to be proud of,” Davis said.