Calhoun School District Officials Asking Supporters to File Witness Slips Against Mascot Prohibition Bill

By Benjamin Cox on April 2, 2024 at 3:45pm

An area school district is asking parents to file witness slips against a certain bill up for a committee hearing in the Illinois General Assembly this week.

House Bill 5617 would amend the school code that would prohibit a school from using a Native American name, logo, or mascot. The bill would allow a school to continue to use uniforms or other materials bearing a native name, logo, or mascot that were purchased on or before the bill goes into effect until 2027 if specific requirements are met. The bill is being sponsored by 67th District Rockford Democrat Representative Maurice West. The bill has 7 other co-sponsors, all suburban Democrats.

The bill is expected to receive a hearing in the Elementary & Secondary Education Committee tomorrow in Springfield.

Calhoun Community Unit District #40 officials have asked parents and supporters to file witness slips in opposition to the bill.

The Calhoun Warriors have been in existence since 1961 after consolidation in the late 50s. The ideas for the Native American mascot likely came from the old Eldred High School Warriors in nearby Greene County, which sported red and white colors with black trim. The Eldred school closed in 1953 and consolidated with Carrollton. Hardin High School, which was the predecessor to the consolidation of the Calhoun District, was originally the “Tigers” and had a similar orange and black color scheme as the current school’s WIVC arch rival – Greenfield.

The Native American imagery also has a connection to the region with the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville that specializes in Native American historical artifact research along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.