Houston ISD votes to change school mascots

Superintendent recommends change, says mascots are considered culturally offensive

Local 2 News at 6PM

HOUSTON - The Houston Independent School District is one step closer to changing the mascots at four schools.

The board voted to change the mascots for the Lamar High School Redskins, Hamilton Middle School Indians, the Westbury High Rebels and the Welch Middle School Warriors.

Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier recommended the change, saying the mascots are considered culturally offensive.

Lamar High School graduates aren't happy about the possibility of the change. They say they want their voices heard.

The trustees need to take a second vote in January. If approved, new mascots would be assigned to those schools according to new policies, starting in the 2014-2015 school year.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis was applauding HISD's vote Thursday night. He released a statement saying in part:

"Houston should be proud that they have leaders at HISD that recognize when it's time to move on past mascots that no longer reflect our values."

Professional football's Washington Redskins released a statement which read:

"We respect the Houston Independent School District and its right to make decisions on a local matter, but we believe it is disregarding the appreciation and pride many Native Americans hold for a name that respects our country's Indian heritage and tradition.

We also believe this decision disregards a sentiment we have repeatedly heard from many American Indians who support the team's name, such as Desmond Wesley, who grew up in Texas.  He wrote us to say, 'I too have Native American roots.  I am considered an African American, so I understand racism and oppression.  This does not seem like that to me.  I completely support the name Redskins… I am so proud of the name and the team.  I hope [they] will keep it.'

The Redskins agree with Desmond and we too do not believe the name should be changed."

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