Four schools here in Houston will soon have to retire their longtime mascots, including the Lamar Redskins.
Some Native American leaders like Steve Melendez say the change is overdue.
“You know, it’s just unacceptable to have a dictionary-defined racial slur as a mascot. You know, it’s just demeaning. It just shows the institutionalized racism that we find in this country.”
Late last year, Superintendent Terry Grier proposed banning any name that referenced a race or ethnic group.
Grier was absent when the board made its final decision. And the trustees didn’t make any comment as they cast their votes.
But the ban stirred deep emotions from Native Americans as well as Lamar students and alumni.
“I’m very disappointed. I’ll be a Redskin the rest of myself. The family is.”
That’s Joe Koch. He graduated Lamar High School in 1968.
“They’re just flat nicknames. They’re not meant to hurt these people who are taking offense of it.”
But teenager Marah Melendez says the term Redskin hurts no matter what the context. She spoke before the board of trustees along with her dad.
“Because I want to change the history and for the future. Because I don’t want anyone else to be called Redskin anymore.”
Besides the Lamar Redskins, the new ban impacts the Westbury High School Rebels, the Hamilton Middle School Indians and the Welch Middle School Warriors.
Those schools will have to pick new mascots next school year.