Governor Kitzhaber says he wants to veto Senate Bill 215, and he should. It’s a terrible bill, even though the sponsors meant well.
This has to do with Indian names and mascots at some Oregon schools. The state Board of Education decided in 2012 to ban the use of Indian mascots and imagery. It threatened to withhold state funds from school boards that refused to fall in line in five years.
Legislators this year tried to fix this with SB 215. It would force schools to negotiate with Indian tribes on acceptable symbols if they wanted to keep their mascots or names. It also ordered schools to force athletic directors or others to complete training in “cultural diversity.”
So schools would have to negotiate with outsiders to allow the use of certain English words, and employees would have to undergo re-education. Otherwise schools would lose funds that taxpayers paid to educate kids. The whole thing is outrageous. Laws like that should not be on the books.
The bill is worse than doing nothing. If nothing is done, in 2017 the state education bureaucracy may try to shut down school systems like Lebanon, Molalla and Philomath because of their nicknames. Let’s just see what happens then. (hh)