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Christensen backing away from legislation that would ban schools from changing their mascots

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Chad Christensen | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

BOISE — A local state representative says he will likely back out of supporting a bill banning schools from changing their mascots.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon, announced bills he plans to support and legislation he may put forward this session. One piece of legislation would remove school boards’ authority to change a school’s name.

“This is in response to Teton County abolishing the Redskin name. There is an agenda to destroy local heritage, so long-time residents no longer have an identity and so generational traditions become extinct. I would like this authority to remain local, but require a vote amongst the citizens,” Christensen wrote in the Facebook post.

In an interview with EastIdahoNews.com Thursday, Christensen said he has changed his mind.

“I spoke with the (Idaho) Freedom Foundation and some other players and I’m probably going to back out of it,” Christensen said.

He said he wants to be able to help Teton County and the school district in what he believes is an attack on the local culture and heritage of the county. However, he feels the legislation he discussed in the Facebook post would go against his belief in representative government rather than a direct democracy.

He explained that school board members are elected officials and if people want something changed, like a school name or mascot, they need to go through the school board.

“I want to help (the school district) with that issue. But the left, if it tries to erase heritage and cultures to further an agenda, I want to help with that. But I can’t compromise my principles as far as the Constitution and the republic goes,” Christensen said.

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