SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Board of Education planned on renaming 44 of their schools, but due to a nation-wide and community backlash, decided against the move.
President of the school board, Gabriela López, said in a statement published on Twitter, “There have been many distracting public debates as we’ve been working to reopen our schools. School renaming has been one of them. It was a process begun in 2018 with a timeline that didn’t anticipate a pandemic. I acknowledge and take responsibility that mistakes were made in the renaming process.”
López said in the statement that she believes the school board needs to “slow down” and “provide more opportunities for community input.”
The school board president noted they are accomplishing this by working with teachers, principals, and others within the school to “educate our school communities about the renaming process.”
López said that renaming the schools provides the underrepresented communities an opportunity to be supported and that “students need to attend schools where they feel valued and seen. This work is anti-racist and we’re proud of that.”
Currently, the school board’s first priority is reopening, said López, and any renaming committee meetings are promptly canceled.
“We will be revising our plans to run a more deliberative process moving forward, which includes engaging historians at nearby universities to help,” read the statement.
López revealed the school board knows parents are frustrated because the schools have not been reopened and the school board is still in negotiations to reopen the schools for in-person learning.
López suggested that she is “committed to working with city partners to get vaccinations, testing, and other resources we need.”
This public statement comes after San Francisco parents, Autumn Looijen and Siva Raj, distributed a petition to recall her, Commissioner Faauuga Moliga, and Vice President Alison Collins for politicizing their children’s education.
Autumn Looijen and Siva Raj own a website where they explained that their goal “is to get politics out of education.”
The couple said the petition needs 70,000 signatures to recall Commissioners Lopez, Collins, and Moliga. “We are parents, not politicians, and intend to stay that way,” Raj said.
Raj said he wants the SFUSD to use the guidelines approved of the CDC, which means the schools could reopen “today” with physical distancing and without the vaccines.
For more information regarding the petition, visit Looijen and Raj’s Facebook website, https://www.facebook.com/groups/2136658873308524.