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Board votes to eliminate Ypsilanti High School's 'Braves' nickname

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YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) - Ypsilanti High School sports teams won't be called the ''Braves'' anymore, a divided school board decided.

The Ypsilanti Public Schools board of education acted on a 4 - 3 vote in December. Seven months earlier, it decided to drop the high school's logo, which showed an American Indian man with a Mohawk haircut and feathers.

Opponents said the name and logo were offensive to American Indians.

''The name 'Braves' may seem trivial to some, but it's not trivial to kids who don't want to go to school because of it,'' said Jasmine Culp, Cherokee and a

former Ypsilanti Schools student.

Supporters said the name and logo were part of the district's heritage and not intended to offend Indians.

''You have set a dangerous precedent because every other board after you will bring this back,'' said El Weathers, of mixed Indian and African heritage.

The board voted after hearing about 50 people speak over 3-1/2 hours. The board also asked Superintendent James Hawkins to plan how to choose a new nickname, The Ann Arbor News reported.

At the college level, the NCAA decided last year that schools with nicknames, mascots and imagery it considers hostile or abusive cannot host tournament games or use the names and symbols at championship events.