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Midget debate begins in advance of committee


September 22, 2018

Larry Holcombe/Daily Globe

Hurley HIGH School cheerleaders march in Friday afternoon's homecoming parade on Silver Street with a group of elementary cheerleaders. They performed to a large crowd at halftime of Hurley's football game against visiting White Lake-Elcho that evening. The Midgets won 54-0.

HURLEY - The Hurley School Board's decision Monday to evaluate the school district's Midget mascot has created a social media firestorm.

The initial reaction seems to be mostly opposed to changing the name.

The school board voted to form a committee and "engage in a transparent process to evaluate the mascot," a statement released Thursday by district administrator Chris Patritto noted.

Although school board president Joe Simonich, of Kimball, said the district had been threatened in the past because of the name, there is no current lawsuit or formal action begin taken, Patritto said.

"To be clear, no decision has been made by the board at this point. The school board has simply decided to engage in a process to form a committee," Patritto said.

He said the role of the committee will not be to come up with a new name, but to focus on whether the Midget mascot "should remain as it is."

The board is receiving plenty of social media feedback.

"Why did Joe Simonich decide to start this uproar when there isn't an issue?" asked Doralyn Thomas-Doney.

"So, wait, there is no threat of a lawsuit? Then why are we having this discussion?," asked Annie Van Epern.

"I would never lose Midget pride if they change the name, but I also don't want to be the Hurley Rainbows or Sunflowers just so we don't offend someone; everything offends someone. It's a part of our history and I think the name should stay," wrote Opie Doucette.

Former Hurley Midget defensive back Gregory John Saari, now a radio host, said Mark Belling had some fun with the Midget debate on News/Talk 11:30 WISN in Milwaukee.

There have also been comments about whether the Butternut Midgets will be the next to come under fire. The Butternut Midgets are named for favorite son, Charles "Midget" Fischer, who was a muscular 5-3 champion amateur and professtional wrestler in the 1920s and 30s.

The school board discussed setting up a committee made up of students, school organization members and people from the community. From 12 to 15 people would make up the committee.


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