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Calif. High School Won't Drop 'Arab' Name, But May Change Mascot

A California high school won't be getting rid of its "Arab" name, but will discuss possible changes to its mascot with a national anti-discrimination group, The Desert Sun reports.

The Coachella Valley Unified school board held a special meeting on Friday night after its mascot gained national attention in recent weeks. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) sent a letter to the district on Nov. 1 asking the high school to "immediately address" its "orientalist stereotyping of Arabs."

In a letter published in The Desert Sun this week, Coachella Valley Superintendent Darryl S. Adams explained that the name, which was originally introduced in the 1920s, was designed to "show both respect and honor for the Middle Eastern cultures and crops known to be strong throughout the Coachella Valley."

He acknowledged, however, that the mascot "now provokes negative feelings," which "must be addressed."

Thus, at the board meeting on Friday, Adams announced that the "Arab" name won't be going anywhere, but changes to the mascot remain a possibility.

"(Changing) the name 'Arab' is no longer on the table," Adams said at the board meeting, per The Desert Sun. "It is a name we will keep."

Abed Ayoub, the ADC's director of legal and policy affairs, plans to travel to the district next week to speak with students, city officials, and alumni, per the ADC's Facebook page. "It is ADC's hope that the trip will foster further understanding of the community concerns, and begin the process of resolution."

Below, you can see the mascot performing at one of the school's basketball games:

The district has planned a press conference for Tuesday to discuss the future of the mascot, according to The Desert Sun.

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