School mascots should be chosen so as not to be offensive to any group or minority. Orofino High School’s mascot was offensive and stigmatizing to people suffering from mental illness when it was first adopted in the 1920s, many decades before informed persons realized that mental illnesses are brain disorders and nothing to be ashamed of. Mental illness is so prevalent that 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers from mental illness at some point in their lifetime. It is good that the word “maniac” was removed from the legislative bill to allow a license plate to raise money for the school. However, regardless of denials from Orofino residents, the picture is just as stigmatizing as the word. The picture was clearly meant to depict a patient in State Hospital North, which until 1931 carried the name Insane Asylum, having been established in 1905. The school is situated right beside the hospital. That the school has had this mascot for almost 100 years is no justification for its continuance. It’s time that Orofino residents accept that this name and mascot are offensive and come to realize we are not in the 1920s anymore. This bill should not be passed.
Fran Collette, Boise