THERMAL (AP) — A special meeting will be held to discuss the growing controversy over a Southern California high school’s longstanding Arab mascot.

The Desert Sun reports Tuesday  that the Coachella Valley Unified School Board had planned to address the issue at a regular Nov. 21 meeting, but decided to hold a special meeting Friday to allow more time for discussion.

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Coachella Valley High School’s mascot has been around since the 1920s. It was chosen to recognize the area’s reliance on date farming, traditionally a Middle Eastern crop. The mascot has evolved from a turban-wearing horseman carrying a lance to a standing figure with a snarl on its face and sporting a headscarf.

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Recently, an anti-discrimination group demanded that the school get rid of the mascot.

Superintendent Darryl Adams said the mascot was never intended to ridicule anyone.

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