Michigan Democrats introduce bill to ban using derogatory terms as mascots

Michigan Democrats introduce bill to ban using derogatory terms as mascots. (File WWMT)

Michigan is home to dozens of schools with mascots that some consider racially offensive and some lawmakers want to ban schools from using derogatory terms as mascots.

Political Reporter Nick Minock reports with on this set of bills.

Michigan Democrats were approached by native tribes earlier this week who feel the term “redskins” is too insensitive.

Democrats found out there wasn't much the Michigan Education Board could do, so now some lawmakers are introducing a bill to ban mascots that may be offensive.

Paw Paw High School decided earlier in 2017 to keep their name "Redskins", but the decision wasn't made without a fight.

Home to the Raiders, Ecorse High School displays Native American imagery outside their school.

Before State Rep. Jewell Jones, (D) Inkster, took the stage at Ecorse high, he talked about his bill that would eliminate race-based visuals and auditory practices in public schools.

Jones said, “It could go from the mascots to the logos to any chants, slogans, and things of that nature. We want to eliminate that so we can make schools safe places to learn and grow."

If his bill gets to the 100-yard line, the Civil Rights Department would compile a list of schools that have been complained about.

Schools on the list that have derogatory images or names would be required to make some changes, but there is an option for schools to obtain a waiver if groups like tribes give them the okay.

Jones said, “Basically when that list gets together it's based off any complaints that's ever existed here in Michigan."

His bill may face political hurdles.

Forcing schools to scrub their longtime mascots from existence could cost schools money.

State Rep. Jon Hoadley, (D) Kalamazoo, said there's a solution to that.

Hoadley said, “At the age of 22, Jones says these students, who aren't much younger than he is, need to grow up in an environment that respects each other’s culture.”

Jones said, “We want to make sure they are coming up in a culture of inclusion."

In 2013, the Civil Rights Department compiled a list of 35 schools that have been complained about.

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