Mich. Department of Civil Rights Complaint May Force Change in Schools

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Department of Civil Rights filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Friday, that asked the federal agency to issue an order prohibiting the use of such school nicknames, saying that new research shows a negative impact on student learning, creating an unequal environment in violation of Article VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“A growing and unrebutted body of evidence now establishes that the use of American Indian imagery reinforces stereotypes in a way that negatively impacts the potential for achievement by students with American Indian ancestry,” the filing argues. “Continued use of American Indian mascots, names, nicknames, logos, slogans, chants and/or other imagery creates a hostile environment and denies equal rights to all current and future American Indian students and must therefore cease.”

“Because there is now, for the first time, an objective showing that actual harm is resulting and that it disparately falls on American Indian students, there is no longer any need to question what the school, or what the ‘reasonable American Indian’ thinks about the mascot,” the filing argues.

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