Thursday, January 19, 2012

Political Correctness In Utah: Corner Canyon High School's Nickname Will Be Chargers Because Cougars Is Considered Derogatory To Women

Another storm of political correctness has broken over the Canyons School District in the Salt Lake Valley, albeit not quite as destructive as the anti-racist witch hunt at Alta High School in 2011. The Canyons School District announced on January 19th, 2012 that they had rejected the nickname Cougars and accepted the nickname Chargers for the new Corner Canyon High School in Draper. The reason: "Cougars" is considered derogatory to women, because it has become a cultural term describing older women who seek intimate companionship with younger men.

On December 6th, 2011, the Canyons Board of Education selected Corner Canyon High School as the name of the new high school in Draper, and solicited public input for the new school's nickname and colors. They decided to distribute ballots with the names Mountain Lions, Cougars, Diamondbacks, Falcons, Raptors, Broncos, Bears, Cavaliers and Chargers to 4,300 prospective student body members currently in grades K-8 at various feeder schools which will supply students to the new high school.

When the ballots were counted, they showed 273 students wanted Cougars, 180 wanted Diamondbacks, 171 wanted Falcons and 141 wanted Raptors. However, some parents and patrons complained to board members, saying they were uncomfortable with the idea that their daughters on the drill team and cheerleading squad would be called Cougars, while other parents and students said they did not want to share a mascot with BYU, since the two schools colors would already be similar. So on January 17th, the board decided to ignore the students' choice and selected Chargers as the school's nickname. The summary of the board meeting indicates the vote was unanimous. The District did make it clear at the outset that the students' vote would only be an advisory vote, and that the Board would make the final decision.

The official board agenda for the January 17th meeting provides some useful background and additional research the board took into consideration before making the decision.

But it's the district's explanation after the fact that's a bit nauseating. District spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook said, "The board said this is a brand new school and we want to unite the community. And if there's something out there that could divide it, let's not go there". But if their intent was to avoid dividing the community, they achieved precisely the opposite effect, as the comments sections to KSL Channel 5, KSTU Channel 13, and the Deseret News show universal disapproval of the decision. One person posted this particularly cogent comment on the Deseret News:

John Charity Spring | 7:20 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012 Back Home In Davis County, UT:
This decision is proof positive that left wing extremism has infiltrated the education system to an alarming degree. Indeed, this is political correctness at its worst.

This left wing doctrine teaches that everything dealing with education must be reduced to the blandest possible level so that no possible offense could be taken by any possible person. Thus, a mascot name that merely represents a powerful creature of nature is suddenly transformed into a symbol of unrestrained sexual deviance. There is something wrong with an administrator who would react to a students suggestion of this mascot with thoughts of sexual activity between lustful older women and impressionable young men.

It is time for parents to stand up to this doctrine of political correctness that turns even the most benign of activities into artificially controversial subjects. Let this school have this honorable mascot.

Two school board members were particularly enthused about choosing the Charger nickname. Dr. Paul McCarty said "the Charger — a war horse — is entirely appropriate. The horse has been a prominent animal in Draper.” And Kevin Cromar said “I like the alliteration; I like the appeal. It’s something that will unify the community.” Contact information for all school board members is available HERE; since the board's vote was unanimous, it might be useful to compose one e-mail directed to the board president, Tracy Cowdell, and send info copies to the other board members.

There are two other ways to get even. First consider running for a board seat during the next election. Second, consider hitting them in the wallet by voting No the next time the district floats a bond.

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