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Wis. officials file motion over Berlin mascot (UPDATE)

BERLIN, Wis. (AP) — The state wants a lawsuit dismissed that challenges the constitutionality of a 2010 state law that allows the schools superintendent to ban American Indian mascots and logos.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction ordered the Berlin School District to drop its Indians nickname and logo by Sept. 16, 2012, because its promotes stereotyping, discrimination and pupil harassment.

The state had received a complained from a district resident regarding the Berlin Indians’ nickname.

The Berlin school district decided not to fight the state ruling, but a group of local citizens filed a lawsuit in October.

The state’s motion, filed in Green Lake County Circuit Court Tuesday, claims a lawsuit should be brought by a school district, not individual taxpayers.

The motion was filed on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, its Superintendent Tony Evers, and Paul Sherman, an education consultant with the DPI.

Sam Hall, an attorney from Milwaukee-based Crivello Carlson, S.C., is working for the Berlin group. His firm also represented two Mukwonago residents who challenged the state law because the state ordered that school district to drop its Indians nickname.

In that case, a judge ruled the state’s effort was unconstitutional because an administrative hearing on the case was unfair. The judge also agreed that the law, as applied against Mukwonago, was unconstitutional because the decision maker, Sherman, had a high risk of bias. Sherman also made the ruling for Berlin.

Hall tells the Oshkosh Northwestern that he doesn’t expect a dismissal.

“The Wisconsin attorney general’s office filed the exact same motion in Waukesha County during the Mukwonago School District’s fight to keep its Indian logo and nickname, and the motion was denied,” Hall said.

Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern,

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