New legislation could force some schools to change mascots - WNEM TV 5

New legislation could force some schools to change mascots

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

It's a controversial issue that has grown over recent years as a number of schools and sports teams face increasing scrutiny over their mascots.

The new legislation would require the state Board of Education to create a list of banned race or ethnicity-based classifications.

If schools continue to use a prohibited name, the state could withhold crucial funding.

Several Mid-Michigan schools would be impacted by the new bill.

The bill was introduced by the Michigan Senate last week. It would mean schools with mascots like Eskimos, warriors, braves, Indians or flying Dutchmen could be forced to find new mascots.

While it remains to be seen if the legislation will go through, Bay City Western High School is paying close attention. Western's mascot is the Warriors.

"It would be a huge financial responsibility on the district and the school to change a mascot," Principal Judy Cox said.

Cox said there is a lot at stake.

"Even if you just talk athletic uniforms that's probably at least $70 to $100,000 just athletic uniforms," Cox said.

Plus, Cox said the Warrior mascot has been nothing but a positive message.

"We've always promoted Western historically the warrior, even in our song it's brave and true. So it really has a pretty positive message," Cox said.

Cox said you can change a name potentially, but you can't change the history of a team and its nickname.

"I do think that if it was legislation we would by law have to take a lot of these things down, but again, the history of it there would always be a little sense of a warrior in a Western grad," Cox said.

The name calling controversy has flared up before and it's hard to say if any action will be taken off the field this time around.

The state issued a statement saying the legislation would only apply to K-12 schools. Colleges and universities will not be affected.

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