A school mascot played a role in Stephanie Jerome’s decision last year not to enroll her 10-year-old daughter in the Cheyenne Mountain School District, whose high school mascot is the “Indians.”
The Jerome family is of Lakota and Ojibwe heritage. Before they moved to Colorado Springs, Jerome’s sons had been bullied in other schools for their background and their long hair, and given the mascot, the family thought it would be even worse for her daughter, Jeanvieve.
“It’s disrespectful to our people and it hurts to see people support that,” said Jeanvieve, who also didn’t want to go to school in the district and was homeschooled instead. She said it gives students permission to make fun of Native students, furthering mocking and bullying in schools.
The 25 Colorado schools that have American Indian mascots have 11 months to remove them or face a monthly fine of $25,000. That means changing uniforms, signs, paintings in hallways and even gym floors, and when Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed SB21-116, he paired it with a letter of concern about the short timespan and cost to school districts, which can run hundreds of thousands dollars.
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