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Coachella Valley High to keep 'Arab' mascot name; logo changes likely

Changes are coming to Coachella Valley High School's controversial 'Arab' mascot and nickname.
November 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Changes are coming to Coachella Valley High School's controversial "Arab" mascot and nickname. The school will likely keep the name but make some changes to the mascot.

Tuesday, Coachella Valley Unified School District announced plans for a mascot committee to come up with some recommended changes.

While the high school will retain its name, the Arabs, what critics say is a villainous look to the mascot may soon be a thing of the past.

"Discontinuing some of the practices associated with the mascot is what we are considering," said Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Darryl Adams.

Some of those activities may include the belly-dancing student at halftime. There may also be changes to the murals that decorate the campus.

"At no time was the mascot for CV High School meant to denigrate, but it was meant to honor and to celebrate Arab culture and the Middle-Eastern connection with the community," said Adams.

The controversy over the mascot erupted two weeks ago after the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee sent a letter to the district complaining about the offensive portrayal of Arabs.

But for many students, alumni and parents, "Arab pride" runs deep.

"It's been a tradition for so long and it's not that we're trying to fun of people," said former student Alizia Salazar.

But Salazar does agree that the mascot's overall look does need a new look.

"It definitely needs an update because it is kind of offensive, but at the same time I don't think they should change the name or try to change what the school's been trying to do for so long," said Salazar.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is hopeful of reaching a solution both the district and its organization will be comfortable with.

"Any reasonable solution would be one that eliminates the stereotypical images, and one that eliminates the stereotyping of Arabs as a whole," said Abed Ayou, Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.

A member with the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee is scheduled to tour the campus Wednesday.

The mascot committee will be composed of the school principal, the senior class president, a parent and a member from the Arab-American community. They're expected to have mascot recommendations ready by Christmas, at which point the school board will vote on the changes.


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