Some concerns are being raised, over the new rules dealing with Indian school logos and nicknames. The rules are already being used by the state Department of Public Instruction, which so far has held two hearings on complaints filed against school districts. “The district has to provide clear and convincing evidence that the use of that logo and nickname does not promote discrimination, stereotyping or harassment,” Mike Thompson with the Department of Public Instruction told members of the state Senate Committee on Education.
“Prior to this, we have had complaints of Native Americans, where their legitimate complaint about a caricature of their culture, of their religion, was not listened to,” said state Senator Spencer Coggs, the Milwaukee Democrat who authored the legislation on race-based logos and nicknames. “We set up a process so that it will be listened to, so that both parties can tell their sides and the Department of Public Instruction can issue a verdict.”
But state Senator Glenn Grothman worries about how the new law will be applied. “We want to make sure that the Department of Public Instruction does not rule against all school districts, if there is no harassment,” said Grothman. The West Bend Republican said he has two schools in his Senate district where Native American names and logos are used respectfully, and there have been no complaints. “I hope that in districts where there’s not discrimination, that they’re allowed to keep their names.”
So far, DPI has ruled against the Osseo-Fairchild school district, the Kewaunee district decided to drop its nickname and logo before a hearing was held, and DPI’s ruling is pending in a complaint against the Mukwanago district.