In an 8-0 vote, HISD trustees gave approval to the measure's first reading. That paves the way for a final vote in January.
The new policy, which would affect four HISD schools -- the Lamar Redskins, Westbury Rebels, Hamilton Indians and Welch Warriors -- would allow schools to retire existing mascots. It would go into effect at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
Each school would be required to follow district policy in selecting its new mascot.
Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) released the following statement: "I commend the HISD board and administration for taking tonight's step toward eliminating vestiges of racism in our schools' mascot names.Houston should be proud that they have leaders at HISD that recognize when its time to move on past mascots that no longer reflect our values."
Opponents, who argue the policy change threatens long-standing school traditions, voiced their displeasure at Thursday's meeting and vote.
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