The San Francisco school Board on Tuesday followed through with a vote to rename 44 public schools apparently controversial namesakes like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
As TheBlaze previously reported, in October San Francisco school officials on the School Names Advisory Committee created a list of 44 sites that featured buildings named for historical figures, proposing to change the names of these buildings. The committee was tasked with identifying "whether the name on a school met the criteria for renaming, which includes anyone or anything associated with slavery, genocide, colonization, exploitation and oppression, among other factors."
The criteria for a school name to be deemed "inappropriate" included: 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 abuses; those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs.
KNTV-TV reported Tuesday that the school board voted to adopt the committee's recommendations and change the names of the 44 public school buildings on the list. The names include Lowell High, Lincoln High, Washington High, Roosevelt Middle, John Muir Elementary and Feinstein Elementary.
Schools named for Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were included because those Founding Fathers were slave owners. Abraham Lincoln High School will be renamed because the nation's 16th president, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in the South, also ordered the executions of 38 Dakota tribe Native Americans involved in a violent conflict with white settlers in Minnesota.
Dianne Feinstein Elementary, a school named for California's sitting senior Democratic senator, made the list because as mayor of San Francisco in 1986, Feinstein reportedly replaced a vandalized Confederate flag at City Hall.
In October, San Francisco Mayor London Breed criticized the school board for moving forward with the plan to rename schools during the pandemic, calling it "offensive."
On Wednesday, the mayor issued another statement blasting schools for producing a plan to rename buildings by April but offering no plan to reopen the schools.
"I understand the significance of the name of a school, and a school's name should instill a feeling of pride in every student that walks through its doors, regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation," Breed 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 students are suffering, and we should be talking about getting them in classrooms, getting them mental health support, and getting them the resources they need in this challenging time. Our families are frustrated about a lack of a plan, 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.
"I believe our children should be a part of the conversation around the renaming of their schools, and I believe the education and discussions need to happen within our school walls. Let's bring the same urgency and focus on getting our kids back in the classroom, and then we can have that longer conversation about the future of school names."