Here’s HISD Superintendent Terry Grier’s op-ed in the Chron about the likely forthcoming change in HISD policy on school mascots and nicknames.
HISD must retire, respectfully, school symbols that no longer reflect the values of who we are – proudly diverse, inclusive, forward-thinking and committed to instilling character and social awareness in our youngsters.
The Lamar Redskins, Hamilton Indians, Welch Warriors and Westbury Rebels must become a part of HISD’s history.
Steps are being taken to craft a new district policy that will allow schools to acknowledge the important traditions of these symbols to each of their communities, but that will make sure new mascots are in place by the start of the 2014-15 school year. HISD is working with principals at these schools, and we are looking to the Board of Education to adopt an unequivocal new policy at its next meeting on Thursday.
We applaud state Sen. Rodney Ellis and the Anti-Defamation League for championing this issue. Our duty is to be sensitive to the deep passions on both sides at each campus – working to balance the historic significance of these mascots to many with the negative, hurtful and sometimes embarrassed reactions they engender in many others.
Lamar, Westbury, Welch and Hamilton should be defined and measured by their notable student successes – not bogged down by questions about their school mascots.
Our goal in HISD is not to obliterate all vestiges of traditional figures that were once widely embraced. That is an important part of each school’s cultural and historic literacy. But the place for Redskins patches or pennants, or for Confederate symbols is no longer on the uniforms of our teams and cheer squads. They can be displayed in cases on campuses and explained in history books.
See here and here for the background. I don’t have much to add to this, just that I agree with it and am glad to see it. To anyone who might be thinking that HISD has better things to do than to enact policies like this, I’ll just note that if they do wait around until they have no more pressing business as defined by some people to deal with, they might find that an awfully long time has passed and these embarrassing anachronisms are still on the books. Better to deal with it now – it’s not like it’s going to derail or needlessly delay any other business – and know that it’s one less injustice waiting around to be recognized for what it is.