LANSING, MI (MPRN)-- The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has asked the federal government to order schools to stop using American Indian nicknames and mascots or risk losing education funds.
Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta reports the complaint was filed Friday with the U.S. Department of Education:
The complaint cites research that finds the use of American Indian mascots and nicknames affects student performance. Leslee Fritz is with the state Department of Civil Rights.
“We now know that, based on a variety of new studies, that these images perpetuate stereotypes that harm students,” she says.
Fritz says the mascots and nicknames create an “unequal learning environment.”
The complaint names 35 Michigan high schools, although a U.S. Department of Education decision could affect hundreds of schools across the country. In 2005, Marshall changed its mascot to the Redhawk.
The complaint does not name colleges or universities that have American Indian mascots.
Schools and their logos named in Department of Civil Rights complaint: