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Deadlines loom with Mukwonago High School Indian logo, mascot

July 16, 2013

In a maintenance project delayed three years because of the Indian logo issue, the "This is Indian Country" mural — along with all other murals in the north gymnasium — disappeared from Mukwonago High School last week.

"That is part of our maintenance for our school," said former MHS Principal Shawn McNulty. "We needed to get that painting done this summer because we are expanding the fitness center. We wanted to get those done at the same time."

McNulty stressed that painting over "This is Indian Country" in the gym "has nothing to do with the Indian logo issue," however, with legal options exhausted, the district is counting on state legislators to repeal the mascot law. If allowed, a banner with the same message could be used in the gym, McNulty added.

"Our legal options have been exhausted. If residents are concerned about the logo, they should contact state legislators," said McNulty. "We're asking the state legislators to repeal the Indian logo law so that all school districts are treated fairly."

The district has been in contact with Rep. Stehen Nass regarding legislation to repeal the state law.

"We are counting on the state legislators to work with him to get that done," McNulty added.

DPI deadlines

In the meantime, the district is faced with deadlines for complying to the Department of Public Instruction order to terminate its use of the Indians nickname.

The district was granted an extension on Feb. 1, 2011 "for that portion of the order which could be accomplished through regularly scheduled maintenance." After the November 2011 injunction issued by the Waukesha County Circuit Court was reversed by the Court of Appeals on June 13, the DPI's authority to require the district to stop using the nickname and logo was restored, according to a letter the district received from the DPI on June 28.

While some of the 30 changes required by the DPI have been addressed, a new timeline for the remaining issues was issued. The district has until Aug. 15 to remove the Indians nickname and logo on documents, handbooks, letterhead and electronic media distributed by the district. The district must also notify the WIAA and Classic 8 Conference schools that it no longer uses the Inidan nickname.

By Sept. 2, "all tangible items" such as banners, signage and artwork containing the Indian nickname or logo must by removed from district property. Any items created before June 13, 2013, "whose primary purpose was to honor the accomplishments of individual students incidentally bearing the Indians nickname of associated logo may continue to be displayed," according to the DPI.

Items bearing the Indian nickname and logo that are being addressed through regularly scheduled maintenance should be completed by Oct. 8.

The DPI intends to do an onsite review to monitor compliance with the order. Violation of the order could cost the district "not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for every day it is in violation of the order," according to the letter from the DPI.

Next steps

The district is not required to adopt a new nickname or logo. MHS had started a process for determining a new nickname, but has not proceeded with that process after the injunction was issued by the Circuit Court. There are no plans at this time for selecting a new nickname.

The Mukwonago Area School District Board of Education plans to discuss the issue at its July 22 meeting, which is also the date for the annual meeting.

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