- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

FREEBURG, Ill. (AP) - Officials of the Freeburg Community High School District 77 say the school will keep its “Midgets” mascot.

About 500 people gathered at the school late Thursday to urge the school board not to dump the mascot.

The Little People of America, a national group that represents people with dwarfism, has asked Freeburg and a half-dozen other schools nationwide to drop what they consider an offensive reference.

The name for the Freeburg school was coined nearly 100 years ago by a local newspaper reporter after watching the school’s short basketball team beating larger opponents.

Among those attending the meeting was Rodger Jennings Jr., of Bethalto, whose son has dwarfism. He said schools are supposed to protect children and be “bully-free.”

Supporters of the nickname told the board their intent wasn’t to hurt anyone by using “Midgets” as a mascot.

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