THERMAL, Calif. -

The Coachella Valley Unified School District is set to hold a special board meeting on Friday evening at 6PM in the Coachella Valley High School gymnasium.  The meeting is to discuss recent criticism from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee regarding CVHS's mascot.  The Arab has been the symbol of the school since the 1930s.  In a letter to the district, the ADC called the mascot and nickname "no longer tolerable in the 21st century" and "enforcing negative stereotypes of an entire ethnic group." 

The school's alumni association and the district have defended the mascot by saying, it was never meant to denigrate, rather to honor the role of the Middle Eastern culture in the date industry that's so prominent in the East Valley.

The open forum tonight is expected to attract a large crowd of students and alumni.  It is unknown if a representative from the ADC will be present.  The district has said the ADC has backed off asking the school to change everything, but rather me be satisfied with changing the logo which features a "large nose and heavy beard."

We will have a full report at 11 on CBS Local 2 and KESQ.