Little People convention asks high school to change “Fighting Midgets” mascot

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Summer in St. Louis means its convention season and that’s big business for the Bi-State region.

‘Yeah we got about 1500 people in St. Louis for our national conference, a little more than 1500,’ says Gary Arnold, President of Little People of America. ‘It’s a national conference that we hold.’

Since 1957 the little people of America have been getting together, this year in the Gateway City for a national conversation.

‘When we talk about language we’re trying to get people to stop using the word midget,’ says Arnold. ‘We refer to it sometimes as the “M” word.’

Across the river, the small town of Freeburg, Illinois is home to numerous trophies and state championship honors for their high school team with a nickname that’s not acceptable for this group.

‘Newspaper reporter covering the team began referring to the team as the Midgets from Freeburg and is kind of struck a chord with the community and that’s how it got started,’ says Andrew Lehman, Superintendent Freeburg.

Some 85 year after it’s beginning, Wednesday a group from the Little People of America organization delivered a petition with more than 3,800 names asking the board of education to boot the mascot for a new name.

‘Is that even a consideration?’ asks Patrick Clark.

‘Well I can’t say no to that but it’s also not,’ says Lehman. ‘Again that’s for the board to decide.’

Superintendent Andrew Lehman says he’ll give the petitions to the board for review.

On a day after the Washington Redskins lost their trademark, and South Carolina considers confederate flags, one group says the name should go.

‘It was a common term to identify people of short stature but that’s changed, and I think it’s time for the school to change also,’ says Arnold.

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