“It was just name-calling, in an attempt to get their goat,” she said.
But others — and possibly some parents — got tired of the constant teasing.
The fact that the football team hadn’t won a state title since 1946 didn’t do a lot to help players’ self-esteem.
Whatever the underlying motivation from students, there is abundant evidence of a lack of rational adult oversight as the ASB went about holding a sensitive and highly significant election that would have far-reaching repercussions for the entire school district and the community beyond.
New policy in works
Now the mess has landed in the lap of Supt. Robert Fraisse, who joined the district in 2006 and isn’t one to punt a thorny issue. Fraisse said he is planning to ask the board to craft a policy for a process by which the mascot name could be changed — opening the door for a possible change back to the Artists.
The process would include input from the entire school community — students, staff, teachers, alumni — and the outer community, he said.
There would have to be a “high threshold” for such a change — more than a slim majority, as was the case in the first name change.
And, we suspect, the policy would call for balloting procedures that would pass muster even with the League of Women Voters.
Fraisse hopes to meet with the alumni on the issue soon, and to have the policy in place by the end of the year.
In the meantime, he says, the Artists name will stay in place where it is, and the sports teams will remain the Breakers.
Houts says she is pleased by Fraisse’s approach.
“If all the stakeholders are involved and it’s a fair process, I would be heartened by that,” she said. “Ideally, I would like the name changed back to Artists.”
Still no championship
Back in 2002, maybe the kids, parents and school officials thought a more macho name would energize the sports teams and boost the school.
Maybe they thought wrong.
The football team still hasn’t won another state championship — although it won an Orange Coast League title in 2006. But, if the students and their backers were looking for a way to bullet-proof the school’s reputation, it backfired.
Ditching the “Artists” in favor of “Breakers” turned into a snickering national news story, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle and Washington Post that year.
Way to go, team.
CINDY FRAZIER is city editor of the Coastline Pilot. She can be contacted at (949) 380-4321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.