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Survey shows majority against changing Midget mascot

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Graphic by Kayla Henson / Forum News Service2 / 2

DICKINSON, N.D. — A newly-released district survey shows the majority of Dickinson is not in favor of changing the Midget mascot.

After representatives from Little People of America visited the Dickinson school board last month, the school district created a survey to gauge how the community and those in its schools felt about the potential of changing the controversial mascot, as it was urged to do by LPA.

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During its January school board meeting, Monday night, the Dickinson Public School District released the results of its survey which asked middle school students, high school students, staff members and community members: "Do you think we should change the Midget mascot?"

Of the 893 students enrolled in Dickinson Middle School, 756 responded to the survey. Of them, 277 indicated they believed the mascot should be changed, while 479 of them did not.

Of the 1,006 students enrolled in Dickinson High School, 767 responded to the survey. Of them, 242 indicated they believed the mascot should be changed, while 525 of them did not.

The closest gap between the two options existed between the staff responses.

Of the 287 district staff responses, 147 of them voted against the change; 140 voted in favor of it.

"The staff survey is really our most significant survey from a validity standpoint because every one of our staff members that took the survey were required to use their Google account, so that really made sure that everybody could only vote once," said Superintendent Shon Hocker.

The community survey included four questions: does your child, or did you, attend or graduate from DPS; do you live or have you lived in the Dickinson school district; how long have you lived in the Dickinson school district; do you think we should change the midget mascot?

There were 4,644 recorded responses to the question regarding the mascot, but only 30% of those people also responded to the question about living in the district, so it isn't certain how many respondents actually live in Dickinson. Of that 30%, 65% of respondents indicated that they currently live in the district.

Of the 4,644 community responses, 65% were against changing the mascot; 35% were in favor of it.

"It's not out of the question to assume that some could have voted more than once," Hocker said. "It was based upon IP addresses rather than any other avenue, because we wanted it to remain anonymous, so if you had a cellphone, an iPad and a computer, you could have voted at least three times."

Hocker recommended that the board seek additional information.

"I would like to dig a little deeper on those issues and really come to a better understanding, perhaps even have some of those folks share out with the board the next meeting," he said. "I think it's a more concerning percentage than I had anticipated. I think it's at the level where you do need to continue to look into things and see if that warrants doing something about it or not."