DICKINSON – Dickinson High School announced today it is replacing its mighty midget mascot with a leprechaun in an effort to be more politically correct following the expulsion of its legislator from the North Dakota House of Representatives.
The North Dakota Highschool Activities Association say they’re pleased with the change noting the leprechaun is noticeably less offensive than a midget.
“For years the Dickinson community has mischaracterized little people and antagonized their community,” said the North Dakota Highschool Activities Association. “But those days are over. Today, Dickinson Highschool is taking a step forward by changing its mighty midget mascot into Lenny the Leprechaun. Like many Irish people, Lenny has his fare share of anger and substance abuse issues, often times resulting in physical altercations, but we’re hopeful his luck and penchant for gold rubs off on Dickinson Highschool’s athletes. Lenny is noticeably less offensive than the mighty midget and we hope the community will rally behind him.”
For years the midget mascot has been a source of controversy in the Dickinson community.
Dickinson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Shon Hocker says the schoolboard approved the mascot by a narrow margin after mounting pressure forced them to act.
“I applaud our schoolboard’s decision to move forward by abandoning our previous mascot that has caused so much pain within the community of little people,” says Hocker.
Hocker says the school board weighed several options but ultimately settled on Lenny the Leprechaun.
“Following the motion to abandon our previous mascot, we were tasked with choosing between Harry the Hobo and Lenny the Leprechaun. Ultimately the board chose Lenny as we saw it as an opportunity to save some tax dollars by having the school secretary change the midget ‘s colors to green and give him a hat, beard and a four leaf clover.”
Dickinson School Board President Brent Seaks says Lenny certainly has his fare share of issues but the schoolboard made a motion at its recent meeting to put the mascot on a plan of improvement.
“We made it abundantly clear to Lenny that alcohol is strictly forbidden on all school property and reinforced we will have zero tolerance towards any physical altercations with rival mascots, should any occur.”
At least one Dickinson School Board member however says he disagrees with the decision to adopt the new school mascot.
“Lenny the Leprechaun doesn’t represent our community’s proud German heritage and Dickinson’s demographics,” said the school board member speaking on condition of anonymity. “I don’t expect our community to embrace Lenny anytime soon. In fact this will only lead to further division.”
A parent townhall meeting is being held at the Wurst Shop in Dickinson in response to the school board’s controversial decision and students at Dickinson High School are planning a walkout protest in response to the school board’s decision.
Some parents say they’re having their children not participate in future sporting events until the Dickinson School Board reverses their decision, which could ultimately jeopardize Dickinson’s Class A Basketball Tournament prospects.
“I guess nothing is sacred anymore and I’d just like to know when all this political correctness crap is going to end,” said one parent. “I’ve already pulled my business sponsorship from all future Dickinson athletic events and informed my child’s coach he will not be participating in any future games until the school board reverses its decision. I’m reaching out to other parents in the community as well as business owners and the Dickinson Chamber asking them to boycott future events.”
Some teachers also disgaree with the decisinon and note it puts their contracts in jeopardy.
“I signed up to teach with the Dickinson Midgets, not the Dickinson Leprechauns,” said a Dickinson Public School elementary teacher. “My contract is null and void as a result and we’re demanding a new contract as a result.”
Despite the controversy, a representative from the Little People Association of North America says she’s pleased with the Dickinson School Board’s Decision.
“I’m really happy the school board made the right decision,” says Karen Short. “Our association has been fighting for this change for years but we acknowledge this was no easy decision. We admire the school board members who had the courage to make this change. We’re really looking up to them right now.”
More on this story as it develops.
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