School board revisits ‘Midget’ mascot nameA school board president has questioned whether the local schools should consider changing their “Midget” mascot and nickname to something less offensive to many people.
DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — A school board president has questioned whether the local schools should consider changing their “Midget” mascot and nickname to something less offensive to many people.
Dickinson School Board President Dean Rummel raised the issue during a board meeting Monday and presented to other board members a letter from a former student supporting a change.
Many people, including groups that represent people of short stature, consider the word “midget” a slur.
The board voted to drop the nickname in 1996, leading to a public outcry and the recall of three board members. Residents and students in June 1997 voted down a proposed change in the mascot.
Rummel said the board would take a cautious approach before deciding on any action.
“I think if we’re going to do anything at all — and I’m not saying we’re to do anything at all, I’d like to hear from all of you — but my suggestion would be to have a public forum and to get input from students, staff, alumni, constituents of the school district, to find out if, after 14 years, if there’s any reason to change the mascot or the name,” Rummel said.
Board member Morton Krieg said he does not think the board should be raising the issue — that it should come from either the student body or a public group.
“I feel at this time there is no great public outcry, no great student outcry, and certainly no administrative recommendations to act on the Midget name or mascot,” he said.
The nickname is used by Dickinson High School sports teams, and also a junior high school. The high school is one of the larger in North Dakota, with about 800 students.
Krieg said the Midget nickname was created in the mid-1900s by a radio announcer calling a basketball game who dubbed the Dickinson players “our midgets” because they were small compared to their opponent.
Dickinson’s nickname issue is not the only one in the state. The University of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname is deemed offensive by many American Indians, as well as the NCAA. The nickname is likely to be dropped, though some Indian supporters are trying to keep it alive.