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Dickinson debates "Midgets" nickname

The Dickinson School Board is discussing whether its mascot name - the Midgets - is appropriate.

The board discussed the issue Monday but did not take any action.

School Board President Dean Rummel, who asked to have the issue placed on the agenda, said the issue was controversial 14 years ago and he felt it was again time for the board to discuss whether to keep the name.

In 1997 Dickinson residents and students voted against changing the name.

The school board voted to drop the school nickname and mascot in the summer of 1996. Before a replacement mascot could be found, a public outcry led to the recall of three board members in November of that year.

Board member Morton Krieg, an original proponent of the mascot, said the image was created in the '40s and '50s by a radio announcer calling a basketball game, who dubbed the DHS basketball team "our midgets," as they were small compared to their opponent.

In the '70s, in a DHS contest put on by the student council, a mascot was chosen, known as the "Mighty Midget," he added, and noted it is the official name of the mascot. Hagen Junior High also utilizes the mascot.

"The problem I'm having with this conversation right now is the burden of putting this back out for discussion should not come from the board," Krieg said. "This should be something that should be coming from either the student body of Dickinson High School, or a public group that's coming forward. You don't want to tackle this. This is not a decision five board members should even have to make. You don't want to push this."

Krieg said since the 1996 recall vote, he has had a "pulse on how the name and mascot is perceived in our state and by those people out of our state."

"I feel at this time there is no great public outcry, no great student outcry, and certainly no administrative recommendations, to act on the Midget name or mascot," Krieg said. "To me, it's a non-issue right now. I just feel this board does not have to be the moral compass of the community. You're not elected to do that."