Attorney General rules state can’t hold funding from schools with American Indian mascots

Posted at 11:45 AM, Jul 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-06 15:48:52-04

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Attorney General says that the state cannot withhold funds to schools based on their decisions to use an American Indian mascot or logo for their school.

Bill Schuette issued the 10-page statement Thursday morning.

Schuette issued his opinion to State Representative Tim Kelly and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whitson. Schuette’s opinion was sought by state Rep. Tim Kelly, a Republican from Saginaw County. In March,  Whiston proposed cutting up to 10 percent of a district’s annual payments if he had authority.

In the statement, Schuette says that the Superintendent does have a “broad authority under the Revised School Code and the State School Aid Act,” but says the Superintendent could not withhold funding “based on its use of a particular mascot or logo.”

The Paw Paw School District voted 4-3 in February to keep their mascot as the Redskins.  Belding decided to end using the Redskins are their mascot at the end of the school year and will now be the Black Knights.

Critics of schools with Indian mascots say they create a hostile environment and are culturally insensitive.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.