THERMAL -

Coachella Valley High School has retired a controversial Arab mascot.
   
The hook-nosed, snarling mascot who wears a head scarf did not appear at Coachella Valley High School's season opening football game Friday. A belly-dancing genie that often appears with the mascot was also retired.
   
These steps are the first changes Coachella Valley Unified School District is taking to give the mascot a makeover.
   
The Arab mascot has existed since the 1920s to recognize the desert region's reliance on date farming, a traditionally Middle Eastern crop. It came under fire last November when the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee complained that the mascot was stereotypical.
   
The school district refused to change the school's "Arabs" nickname, but agreed to redesign the Arab face on the school