Bill protecting race-based school mascots would undo Prescott students’ work

Republican legislators in Wisconsin have introduced a bill protecting race-based nicknames in the state’s school districts.

According to the Associated Press:

The bill would mark a dramatic departure from current state law, which allows a single person to file a complaint, places the burden of proof on the school district to show the nickname isn’t discriminatory and gives the DPI the power to make the final decision and order the district to change the name.

The lawmakers are trying to undo what a small group of dedicated students in Prescott, Wis., were able to do.

The Prescott Eleven, as they came to be known, did much of the footwork on the original bill that called attention to racist nicknames.

They were students in the class of Jeff Ryan, whom I profiled last year.

His class — on their own — researched the issue and then lobbied the state politicians for the law that Republicans now seek to overturn.

“This legislation is a good step in recognizing that a single individual should not be able to dictate their will over a whole community and in the process deprive an entire group of people their right to due process,” said state Rep. Dave Craig, R-Big Bend. “As a resident of the Mukwonago School District, I hope my colleagues will join us in reversing the wrongs that we have imposed on many of our state’s school districts by passing this legislation without delay.”