Four school mascots—the Indians, Warriors, Rebels and Redskins—have officially been banned by the Houston Independent School District school board. The names violate the district’s new policy against “offensive or culturally insensitive” mascots, according to KHOU-TV.
The school board voted 7-0 on Thursday, January 16, to approve the new policy, which is expected to go into effect by the start of the 2014-2015 school year. The affected schools are the Lamar High Redskins, the Westbury High Rebels, the Hamilton Middle School Indians and the Welch Middle School Warriors.
"The time has come for the Houston Independent School District – the most vibrantly diverse school district in the nation – to acknowledge that some decisions made generations ago need to be reconsidered," said Terry Grier, the superintendent in an opinion piece in December. "Traditions are important. But respect for cultural difference and sensitivities matters more."
School leaders will have several months to work with the local community to adopt new mascots, said HISD Spokeswoman Tiffany Davila-Dunne to the Houston Chronicle.
Bret Hightower, a Lamar High School senior, said to the Chronicle, “At one point [Redskins] was used as a racial slur. Let us rewrite history and make it a positive connotation.”
“A school should be a place where you feel good about yourself,” said Marah Melendez, 14, to the Chronicle. “Please end these mascots.”