State Rep. Dan Lauwers Urges "Rescind Complaint"
February 21st, 2013
State Rep. Dan Lauwers is urging the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to rescind a complaint it filed with the federal government concerning the use of school districts using Native American mascots or imagery. Lauwers, whose legislative district includes the Capac High School Chiefs, signed a bipartisan letter asking the department to withdraw the complaint. The Port Huron High School Big Reds also is listed in the complaint, which states that no schools receiving federal funding should use Indian mascots. “Asking the federal government to intervene on this issue without first going to local communities is outrageous,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “Any entity that is funded by Michigan taxpayers should never actively work against the very people they serve. The civil rights department needs to rescind this misguided complaint as soon as possible.” Lauwers said no Native American individual or group initiated the complaint. The 35 Michigan schools named in the case should have the opportunity to resolve the allegations through local procedures and hearings, he said. “As a Capac High School graduate, I know that our mascot has historical relevance, but it ultimately should be up to parents, community residents and students whether a change is necessary,” Lauwers said. “This is about local control. The federal government is certainly busy enough and shouldn’t be forced to weigh in on this issue.” The letter was signed by Republicans and Democrats in the state House. It states legislation will be sponsored so that the state department’s funding could be used to cover schools’ expenses for changing mascots, should the federal complaint be successful.