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'Cougar' as a school mascot? Uh, no, says Utah school district

January 20, 2012 |  3:20 pm

Cougar_
What does the word "cougar" mean to you? To some people, it means "a large, tawny cat, Felis concolor, of North and South America." To others, apparently including a Utah school board, it means "an older woman who seeks sexual relationships with younger men."

Both definitions (the above wording is from dictionary.com) are in current use, and one Utah school district was taking no chances on snickers or outright mockery from the community -- or athletic opponents. It overruled a student vote to adopt the Cougar as the school's new mascot because the word can be considered a derogatory term.

Instead, the mascot for the new high school opening in Draper, Utah, will be the Charger.

Students headed for the new Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, were asked to fill out mail-in ballots to choose a mascot and colors for the new school, slated to open in 2013. "Cougars" was the top vote getter, followed by Diamondbacks, Raptors and Falcons. Students were initially slated to choose from those four possibilities for a winner.

"However... we have received numerous e-mail messages and phone calls from parents and patrons in Draper asking us to reconsider the inclusion of "Cougars" as a mascot option," according to a memorandum prepared by Canyons School District's superintendant, David S. Doty.

Some people complained that "cougars" is used by other area schools, Doty noted, but "many also have commented on the negative double entendre of the word "cougar."' (For the pop-culture deficient, a "cougar" is a term used for a woman -- stereotypically a sexually voracious woman -- who dates younger men.)

And with that, the board decided this week to cut to the chase and choose the Charger as the new mascot.

In less controversial news, the new school's colors will be navy, silver and white, even though some complained those are too similar to Brigham Young University's colors.

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Sex can lead to pregnancy. Why don't teens understand this?

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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