Education News

Houston School District Reveals New Mascots To Replace Insensitive Names

The cost to replace mascots at four Houston schools could surpass $250,000.

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The Houston Independent School District unveiled new mascot names for four schools, following a recent ban on culturally insensitive names. The changes are expected to cost $250,000 or more.

For decades at Hamilton Middle School in the Heights, students have used the Indians as their mascot. That’s changing.

“We will be at the Hamilton Huskies.”

Similarly, students at Welch Middle School have picked a new name to replace the Warriors.

“They fell in love with the Welch Wolf Pack.”

It’s also good bye to the Lamar Redskins

“Lamar High School will be the Lamar Texans.”

And Westbury High School is retiring its name the Rebels.

“The overwhelming choice again was the Westbury Huskies.”

The principals of all these schools unveiled their new mascots Tuesday.

It’s the result of a new policy to avoid any mascot that refers to a race or ethnic group in Houston schools.

Superintendent Terry Grier pushed for the change as he’s done elsewhere.

“We’ve also had a lot of people say to us that they were hurt and that the mascots represented hurtful memories to them and one of the things that we’ve stressed and stressed a lot is that HISD is not a hurtful place. It’s an inclusive place.”

To pick the new mascots, each school tried to include students, parents and alumni.

People could submit nominations. Student leaders helped choose the top candidates. And then students themselves voted.

“Honestly, I wanted the Honey badgers. I thought that would have been funny.”

That’s Ethan Fowler. He’s in the eighth grade at Hamilton. He says it was the sixth graders who lobbied for the Huskies.

“Huskies though, very strong powerful dog, you know, in the big races where they pull people along for miles and miles. So you know they’re very resilient and very strong. So it sounds like a pretty good mascot for here at Hamilton.”

Hamilton and the other schools will hold special ceremonies to officially retire the old mascots.

Seventh grader Karen Robles says change is hard.

“I think as a school we kind of, we had like a really strong pride for this mascot, like, ‘Oh we’re the Hamilton Indians. Oh this a strong name. This will give us a lot of strength.’ But I think the change is for the better. I think people will feel equal now. I don’t think they will feel as if they’re being discriminated.”

Hamilton’s principal Wendy Hampton says the mascot change became a teaching moment.

“We just talked about that even something we might have pride in or we might not mean to hurt somebody, if it does, we really need to think about that and we need to look at how we do things and do those things differently.”

The image of the old mascot still appears in 17 places on the Hamilton campus. Those will be removed.

Overall, the Houston school district expects the mascot changes will cost $250,000-$300,000

That includes new sports uniforms and also replacing murals and logos in school gyms, marquees and other places on campus.

 

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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