The ACLU of Wisconsin is urging the Menomonee Falls School Board to retire the Menomonee Falls High School mascot, asserting the use of Native American mascots perpetuates negative and damaging stereotypes about indigenous people.
“Race-based mascots and imagery perpetuate damaging stereotypes and undermine the educational experience of all students,” said Chris Ott, ACLU of Wisconsin executive director. “Our 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 is harmful to our students and schools. We urge the Menomonee Falls School Board to approve this long-overdue change and retire this divisive and racist mascot.”
Studies have shown that race-based mascots have a damaging effect on students. In 2005, the American Psychiatric Association publicly called for “the immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots” because they teach “misleading, and too often, insulting images of American Indians.”
A growing number of Wisconsin school districts that include Native American or tribal imagery are reconsidering their mascots and logos. The Wausau School Board and 17 other districts have urged the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to lobby for a state law to remove mascots or nicknames that could be considered offensive. Currently in Wisconsin, 31 school districts have or use Native American or tribal imagery as a part of their mascots or logos.