Senate bill could fine schools with insensitive mascots

FELCH, Mich. (WLUC) - In a recent North Dickinson County School visit, state representative Beau LaFave talked to their superintendent about declining enrollment and funding.

But one of the major topics of discussion is their Nordics mascot.

In a recent senate bill introduced from Detroit, the Nordics would be considered racially insensitive potentially forcing the school to change or ask permission to use it.

"I don’t know who we are going to call as Nordics and ask if North Dickinson’s mascots okay," said Beau LaFave. "I see there’s good intentions over these terrible pieces of legislation, but we need to keep in mind that what Detroit might think is good for the UP usually isn’t."

Districts that choose to keep their mascot would lose funding through the State School Aid Act, a main source of funding.

"You’d need to change your mascot essentially or lose all you’re funding," said LaFave. "How much would that cost, we have no idea. It would be a significant amount of money for North Dickinson with a school enrollment of 252 students, I don't know where they would absorb that cost."

With Beau and school officials walking the halls, teachers and students shared their option in the matter by having an open conversation with their state rep.

"I dont know one Scandinavian that’s upset about it because it symbolizes toughness and respect,"said a middle school teacher.

The Nordics isn’t the only mascot up for debate, the Escanaba Eskimos and the Gladstone braves would considered offensive with the bill.

"The school of Gladstone spoke to the tribe, they discussed whether or not things needed to change with the mascot 15 years ago, they made changes all on their own," said LaFave. "Us Yooper’s, if we have a problem with what our neighbor is doing, we talk about it together."

If approved, the legislation would go into effect in 2019.