THERMAL – Coachella Valley High School will keep the ‘Arabs’ name, but the east valley school district will ‘consider’ revisions to the campus mascot with a national Arab-American group.
MyDesert During a special meeting of the school board Friday night, Coachella Valley Unified Superintendent Darryl Adams said the school district will meet with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee next week. A news conference is planned for Tuesday afternoon, where the future of the polarizing mascot will be discussed.
Adams said he hoped to make a proposal to the school board by the end of the year. But no matter how the mascot may change, the school will stay the “Arabs,” he said.
“(Changing) the name “Arab” is no longer on the table. It is a name we will keep,” Adams announced at the board meeting. As Adams spoke, a mural of the mascot – a sneering, bearded man with a headscarf and a single tooth – loomed on the gym wall behind him. The same face is painted on the perimeter of the gym and a on welcome sign at the front of the campus.
Two weeks ago, this face drew the scorn of the anti-discrimination group, which chastised the school district for extending a longstanding stereotype of Arabs as villains. The group also launched an online petition demanding the school abandoned its mascot.