At our 1991 Representative Assembly, the National Education Association adopted a New Business Item to discourage the initiation and continued use of prejudicial and derogatory names and symbols of ethnic groups for schools, sporting teams, and mascots. In the last 30 years, we have reaffirmed this position on numerous occasions, because educators have long known the use of racially discriminatory language and symbols in schools is wrong and contributes to a hostile learning environment for many students of color.
Twenty years ago, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a statement calling for an end to the use of Native American images and team names by non-Native schools. The statement reads, "the stereotyping of any racial, ethnic, religious or other groups, when promoted by our public educational institutions, teaches all students that stereotyping of minority groups is acceptable - a dangerous lesson in a diverse society. Schools have a responsibility to educate their students; they should not use their influence to perpetuate misrepresentations of any culture or people.”