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Mischievous mascot bedevils school

A mischievous little blue devil with a pitchfork may be exorcised as the mascot of a middle school because of concern about the devil as a school symbol. Teachers and administrators at Howard Bishop Middle School are discussing the possibility of replacing the mascot _ an idea opposed by many students.

"As I recall, a teacher made a comment in a faculty meeting about the devil being our mascot and questioned whether it was something we wanted to continue or if we should have something different," said Bruce Tomlinson, assistant principal for curriculum.

Like many of her schoolmates, sixth-grader Tara Thomley is opposed to the change and doesn't understand the huff over the mascot.

"Most of my friends think it's stupid, and they don't want to change it, either," she said. "I don't have bad thoughts when I see him. I think the way they make it, he's a cute little devil."

Tara said her homeroom class was told that the mascot would be changed and they were given the opportunity to help pick a new name.

"We didn't really pick one because all the suggestions were stupid _ like Gophers," she said.

Duke University also boasts the blue devil as its mascot. Duke spokesman David Roberson said the name stems from a 1920s elite French fighting unit in World War I.

Tomlinson said he doesn't know what stage the mascot change is in, or even if a final decision to change it has been made.

"With only three days of school left, we may wait for the incoming students to decide next year," Tomlinson said.