SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee, a blue ribbon panel established on May 22, 2018, is responsible for determining the relevance and appropriateness of schools’ names that honor historical figures and recommend alterations to the Board of Education, which votes on further action. The board is made up of 12 community members appointed by the superintendent. Three weeks ago, they collectively decided 44 schools of 125 in the district may require name changes.
The schools in question are all named for “anyone directly involved in the colonization of people, slave owners or participants in enslavement, perpetrators of genocide or slavery, those who exploit workers/people, those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer or transgender people, those connected to any human rights or environmental abuse [and] those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs,” reported KGO.
The Chronicle announced on Wednesday, October 14 that parents and principals were formally asked that week to think of potential new names by December 18. The School Board will vote on name changes in the first two months of 2021.
Names include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, due to there treatment of Native Americans.
On Friday, October 16, Mayor London Breed issued a statement emphasizing “the need for our School District to focus on reopening our public schools, not renaming.” She wrote, “We are in a pandemic right now that is forcing us all to prioritize what truly matters. Conversations around school names can be had once the critical work of educating our young people in person is underway. Once that is happening, then we can talk about everything else. Until those doors are open, the School Board and the District should be focused on getting our kids back in the classroom.”
Today I issued a statement on the need for our School District to focus on reopening our public schools, not renaming them. To address inequities, we need to get our kids back in the classroom. pic.twitter.com/nHnauVZzFe
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) October 16, 2020