The yearbook for Frisco High School in Texas is called “Coonskin,” and some people say the name is racially insensitive.
Anniyah Rawlins, a junior at the Frisco school, told KXAS-TV she was shocked to see the word on the front page of the yearbook after it came out this week.
"I thought it was kind of racially insensitive to still have that as the name, especially when our mascot used to be called the 'Coons' 'til they changed it," Rawlins told the TV station.
In 2002, Frisco High changed its mascot’s name to the “Raccoons.” The school’s association with raccoons dates back to the 1920s. At the time, a student had a pet raccoon and the name just stuck, a school district spokesperson told the TV station. The name "coonskin" literally refers to a raccoon pelt.
But what was acceptable 100 years ago has a different connotation today, critics said.
The name was most likely never intended to offend anyone, Dono Pelham, pastor of Life-Changing Faith Christian Fellowship, one of the largest black churches in Frisco, told KXAS.
Still, Pelham and others believe it’s time for the name to go.
"So why perpetuate something they didn't want to happen in the first place," Pelham said. "This word has history, this word has objective history, not just in Frisco but in the United States, so perhaps it's time for change.”
How did the school district respond?
KXAS obtained a statement from the Frisco Independent School District that read, "The school continued to use the name 'Coonskin' for its yearbook as a way of maintaining the pride and tradition that had been associated with it in the community for decades."
Rawlins said she did not view it as malicious but didn’t want other students to feel like she did when she saw it.
"I’d like to see the name changed," Rawlins told KXAS.
Frisco is about 30 miles north of Dallas.