Go Arabs?

California School to Keep Nickname 'Arabs,' but May Change Mascot

District officials to meet with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the group that demanded the mascot be tossed.

School officials in Southern California say the high school whose "Arabs" nickname has recently caused a furor say the name is here to stay, but the divisive costumed mascot might be rethought.

The Desert Sun reports that the Coachella Valley Unified School District held a special meeting Friday night to address the recent dispute over the Coachella Valley High School Arabs and their bearded, snarling mascot who wears a headscarf.

Superintendent Darryl Adams said at the meeting that changing the "Arabs" name - used by the school since the 1920s - is off the table.

But he says district officials will meet next week with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a group that has demanded the mascot be tossed.

Adams says district officials are open to changing the polarizing image represented by the costume and will make an announcement on its future next week.

"It's a very stereotypical logo of Arabs," said Abed Ayoub, director of legal and policy affairs for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee earlier this month. "It has the angry-looking Arab with the hook nose and the beard."

Ayoub said he understands that the school, which opened in 1910 and is located in the arid Coachella Valley town of Thermal, 125 miles southeast of Los Angeles, originally used the Arab mascot as a nod to the region's date-growing industry, because the date palm is associated with the Middle East.

"There is an appropriate way to recognize the ties with Arabs and the Arab community, but this was not it," Ayoub added.