Youngsters at Boise's new Cynthia Mann Elementary School have picketed attempts to name the school mascot a "sissy" appaloosa horse.

At Friday's recesses, sixth-graders demanded the mascot - chosen by the principal - be changed to a cougar, which they consider a far fiercer animal."They (appaloosas) are sissies," said sixth-grader Stephanie Lewis. "We're going to be called sissies. Who wants to be known as something with spots on their butts?"

The horse, sporting white spots on its rump, was the favorite mount for Idaho's Nez Perce Indian Tribe and is the state horse.

The children did have a say in choosing the mascot, said John McCutcheon, fourth-grade teacher and school coach.

A committee was formed two weeks ago to pick the mascot, and children were invited to participate, he said. The school voted on five of the committee's contenders: pioneers, patriots, gems, appaloosas and cougars.

Appaloosas and cougars came out on top, and Principal Shirley Ewing picked the winner, McCutcheon said. Some children apparently did not understand the ultimate decision rested in the principal's hands, he said.

"They think they have a God-given right to vote on it, and they don't," he said.

In the end, the mascot remained the appaloosa. The school coach called it a worthy animal with many admirable traits, including quick feet.

The school's basketball team is better than any in town, McCutcheon said. "Nobody's going to call us wimps. There's no way."