Expelled devil returns to school

Catonsville High principal says seniors may keep mascot until end of year

October 18, 2001|By Stephanie Desmon | Stephanie Desmon,SUN STAFF

The stick-figure red devil that has served as the mascot of the Class of 2002 at Catonsville High School since the seniors were freshmen is again welcome on campus.

Nearly two weeks ago, at the culmination of the school's "spirit week," seniors decked the front hall with red and silver balloons, paper flames and cardboard cut-outs of their cartoonish devil mascot.

But Principal Robert Tomback, responding to a mother's complaint that the devil promoted satanic and anti-Christian beliefs, and after consulting with his supervisors, made the students dismantle their display early - though they had won the $50 prize for best decorations. The seniors feared that would be the end of their beloved mascot.

But this week, Tomback told the students they could keep the devil through graduation day.

"Because this was something the senior class had a lot of pride in and because it certainly was not meant to be offensive ... [the principal decided] there was no harm in maintaining the mascot, the little red devil," said school system spokesman Charles A. Herndon. The mascot "wasn't disruptive or detrimental to instruction taking place at school. It appeared to be more disruptive not to have the devil in place."

Each class at Catonsville has its own mascot, which they choose as ninth-graders. This year, the freshmen are the purple penguins, sophomores are the blue bulls and juniors wear the green of the Ninja Turtles.

"I'm glad we get to keep it," said Danny Young, president of the senior class. "I didn't think it was questionable at all. I think the whole thing was pretty ridiculous."

Young is relieved the devil controversy is resolved and won't interfere with work on other class projects, including the Nov. 29 spaghetti dinner, one of the biggest fund-raisers of the year.

"Now we can get back to business," he said. "We can plan our spaghetti dinner. I was trying to push that at the last [student government] meeting, but the devil conflict took over."

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