Four Houston School Change Their Nicknames

April 16, 2014 /
From the Houston Chronicle

The cafeteria at Hamilton Middle School (Texas) showcases a painting of a Native American in a feathered headdress. Students wear collared shirts with a similar symbol. They were, until Tuesday, the Hamilton Indians.

Now, with a new school district policy banning mascots deemed culturally offensive, the Houston Heights campus has adopted the Huskies as its symbol, as have the Westbury High School Rebels. The Lamar High Redskins become the Texans, and the Welch Middle School Warriors are the Wolf Pack.

The mascot changes, which could cost taxpayers an estimated $250,000 to replace logos and uniforms, thrust the nation’s seventh-largest school district into an ongoing debate between tradition and treatment of Native Americans.

From high schools to colleges, teams have ditched long-standing symbols over the last several decades, yet professional teams like the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians remain steadfast in the wake of concerns expressed by fans, Native American tribes and, more recently, President Barack Obama.

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier, who won school board approval for the stricter mascot policy in December, said the expense to make changes was worth it.

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