San Francisco Set To Rename 44 Schools As It Deals With Racism

The school board of San Francisco voted to change the names of 44 out of 121 of its schools this week. The effort comes as the district attempts to remove tributes of controversial figures who are connected to slavery, racism, or sexism. 

According to a report by the New York Times, the schools named after Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein are among those expected to be renamed after the board’s decision passed 6-1 vote.  

In 2017, after the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia unrest, the school board voted to start a commission to examine renaming schools with the hopes to “condemn any symbol of white supremacy and racism,” Board president Gabriela López told the outlet. 

The group set the criteria for renaming based on the following: “engaged in the subjugation and enslavement of human beings’ or who opposed women, inhibiting societal progress; or whose actions led to genocide; or who otherwise significantly diminished the opportunities of those amongst us to the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Senator Feinstein made the list because a Confederate flag was replaced and rehung after being vandalized while she was mayor of San Francisco. 

Some say the decision is coming at an inappropriate time given that schools have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This is a great discussion to be had,” Yukina Grady, a high school senior at Abraham Lincoln High School said, adding, “with everything going on with Covid, I wonder if we should be focusing on other things.” 

The city’s mayor, London Breed shared the same sentiments who said in a statement, “What I cannot understand is why the School Board is advancing a plan to have all these schools renamed by April, when there isn’t a plan to have our kids back in the classroom by then.” 

“Our families are frustrated about a lack of a plan,” she added, “and they are especially frustrated with the fact that the discussion of these plans weren’t even on the agenda for last night’s School Board meeting.” 

López fired back at the Mayor’s statement saying that the board discussed the name change at every meeting and that Mayor Breed’s response is “not helping us get to reopening.” 

Another controversy surrounding the name change plan is the cost. López shared that it would cost $10,000 per school to rename them. 

“I wonder if there’s better use for that money,” Yukina Grady said. 

Photo: Getty Images 

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