The nonprofit organization Little People of America (LPA) started an online petition to encourage Illinois officials of Freeburg community high school to change the name of their athletics symbol, the Freeburg Midgets.
In an interview given to USA TODAY, Andrew Lehman, the Superintendent of Freeburg district, explained that the name has been part of the school’s history since the 1930’s. According to Freeburg lore, the nickname came from a cheeky reporter who praised the feisty basketball team’s record, despite the fact that many of the players were smaller than average.
Since then, the name “midget” has been identified by many as being offensive. However, the school has refused to remove the name, stating that doing so would not only remove a beloved symbol, but would also be exceedingly costly. LPA members counter that the continued use of the name helps to create a dehumanizing environment. As Megan Sabourin, a Freeburg native with dwarfism, explained to The Guardian, after being made to suffer the derogatory moniker as child, what is hurtful as an adult is the fact that some residents staunchly refuse to see the name as negative.