By Jesse Sarles

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado schools with American Indian mascots will face steep fines under a bill that’s making its way through the state legislature. The bill to ban them in public schools — SB21-116 — passed out of the state Senate on Friday.

The bill would impose a $25,000-a-month fine on schools that refuse to change mascots associated with Native Americans. The measure would affect 24 current schools.

A similar measure failed 6 years ago, but bill sponsor state Sen. Jessie Danielson says there is much more support for racial justice reforms today.

“It’s a really harmful practice,” the Democrat from Wheat Ridge said. “It hurts native and non-native kids and perpetuates negative stereotypes. It’s bad for our community in general and it’s long overdue to do away with this practice.”

(credit: CBS)

Under Danielson’s bill, schools would have until June 2022 to replace their mascots. Schools like Arapahoe High School, which have permission from tribal leaders for use of their mascot name, may be exempt.

Jesse Sarles