Historic day for 4 HISD schools with new mascots

School communities at four HISD campuses with controversial mascots have selected new names, which were announced Tuesday, April 15, at a news conference at Hamilton Middle School by their principals and Superintendent Terry Grier.

In January, the HISD Board of Education approved a new policy that prohibited the use of any race or ethnic group as a mascot or nickname.

Four schools were identified as not aligning to the policy, and Tuesday, they received their new names:

“For HISD, this day marks the end of an era and sends a strong message about nurturing our cultural diversity,” said Grier. “While traditions and history matter, nothing is more important than respect for cultural differences and sensitivities.”

Each campus was allowed to create its own process to select a new mascot name. All included student, community and alumni input, with several using voting as a way to choose the new name. Now the schools will choose actual symbols to represent their athletic programs and will create methods to respectfully retire their old mascots.

HISD has done an inventory and will work to remove vestiges of the old symbols from gyms, hallways, marquees, and signs, as well as ordering new uniforms, as necessary, in time for the 2014-2015 school year. The district has estimated the cost of facilities updates at $38,000 total at the four schools and uniform costs for the fall at about $50,000.

“The moral cost to our reputation as a diverse district — where we care about the sensitivities of every single individual — would be incalculable if we were not to do this,” Grier said.

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