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School nicknames that have Native American connotations could violate Wisconsin's antidiscrimination laws, and the state education department has the authority to decide which ones are not acceptable, State Attorney General James E. Doyle has said in an opinion.

The Milton school district was sued in 1990 by a resident who opposed the use of the term "Redmen'' for the local high school. A Rock County Circuit Court judge ruled that the state department of public instruction lacks the authority to determine if such logos and team names violate antidiscrimination laws. Many schools in the state have Indian-related nicknames.

Mr. Doyle's opinion this month runs contrary to that ruling. He said that use of an American Indian logo, nickname, or mascot could strengthen a stereotype and create an intimidating or offensive environment that would help perpetuate discrimination.

Education department officials said that copies of Mr. Doyle's decision would be sent to all school districts, which would make the decision of whether to change any potentially offensive nicknames.

®MDBU¯A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former Ohio state school board member who claimed he was denied due process in being removed from his seat.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, affirming a federal district court's decision, ruled that Gov. George Voinovich acted correctly in removing Paul Brickner from the state board.

Mr. Voinovich removed Mr. Brickner from the board in August 1991 after the state attorney general said that Mr. Brickner, by simultaneously holding a post as an administrative-law judge for the Social Security Administration, had run afoul of a state law prohibiting board members from having another "public position of trust or profit.''

The three-judge appellate panel rejected Mr. Brickner's argument that he had been denied due process in being removed from the elected board office without a hearing. The panel said that Mr. Brickner had had several opportunities to present his case to state officials but had refused to use them.

®MDBU¯The Texas board of education this month pledged to maintain a high passing standard for its student assessment despite the failure of many students to pass the tests.

To graduate from high school, students must score at least 70 percent correct on the tests of the newly beefed-up Texas Assessment of Academic Skills. The board last year considered lowering the standard for the mathematics test after thousands of students across the state were unable to attain that score.

A spokesman for the education department said that the board decided to endorse again the 70 percent standard for all the tests to let teachers, students, and parents know that it would not back down despite the high rate of failures. The board also turned down an effort to create a high school completion certificate to award to students whose test scores bar them from gaining the traditional diploma.

Vol. 12, Issue 08

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