This bill restores the law as it existed prior to the enactment of 2013 Wisconsin Act 115 governing the use of race-based nicknames, logos, mascots, and team names by school boards and authorizes the Department of Public Instruction to award a grant to a school board that terminates the use of a race-based nickname, logo, mascot, or team name that is associated with a federally recognized American Indian tribe or American Indians.

Race-based mascots and imagery perpetuate damaging stereotypes and undermine the educational experience of all students. Schools should be fostering safe and inclusive learning environments for all students – not promoting racist stereotypes and imagery. Human beings are not mascots, and the evidence is clear that race-based mascots create a hostile environment that creates real harm for students and school communities. 

Former president of the American Psychological Association (APA) Dr. Ronald F. Levant stated, “The use of American Indian mascots as symbols in schools and university athletic programs is particularly troubling because schools are places of learning. These mascots are teaching stereotypical, misleading and too often, insulting images of American Indians. These negative lessons are not just affecting American Indian students; they are sending the wrong message to all students.”

In 2005, the APA publicly called for “the immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, symbols, images and personalities by schools, colleges, universities, athletic teams and organizations.” This positions “is based on a growing body of social science literature that shows the harmful effects of racial stereotyping and inaccurate racial portrayals, including the particularly harmful effects of American Indian sports mascots on the social identity development and self-esteem of American Indian young people.” Read more about the APA’s 2005 Resolution Recommending Retirement of American Indian Mascots here.

Authors

Senators Larson, Johnson Smith, Roys, Hesselbein, Agard, Spreitzer; Representatives Shelton, Ratcliff, Jacobson, C. Anderson, Considine, Shankland

Status

Introduced

Session

2023-24

Bill number

Position

Support