The San Francisco School Board on Tuesday is expected to temporarily suspend their decision to rename more than 40 schools that are named after historical figures that have been deemed “racist.”
Parents have taken issue with the board’s decision to focus on the trivial matter while students are continuing to attend school virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Even Democratic Mayor London Breed, who agrees with renaming schools, believed focusing on students’ returning to the classroom was more important than school renaming, at least in the short term.
“… in the midst of this once in a century challenge, to hear that the District is focusing energy and resources on renaming schools — schools that they haven’t even opened — is offensive,” Breed said in a statement back in October. “It’s offensive to parents who are juggling their children’s daily at-home learning schedules with doing their own jobs and maintaining sanity. It’s offensive to me as someone who went to our public schools, who loves our public schools, and who knows how those years in the classroom are what lifted me out of poverty and into college. It’s offensive to our kids who are staring at screens day after day instead of learning and growing with their classmates and friends.”
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D) said he supports renaming some of the schools, like what the city has done in the past, but said now is not the time.
“School renaming done the right way would have been a righteous move that a lot of us would have supported,” Wiener explained. “But it was done in a sloppy way.”
While the board has decided to put renaming schools on pause, they have vowed to take the issue up again down the road. According to the Los Angeles Times, the school board plans to revisit renaming schools on the list once students are back to in-person instruction on a full-time basis.
“There is a hope and opportunity to uplift communities that are often underrepresented,” San Fransisco School Board President Gabriela López told the Times. “It deserves more full attention than we’re able to give right now.”
Although the board makes it sound as though they are considering halting the decision because of parents’ concern over in-person instruction, a number of alumni associations and community stakeholders have threatened to sue. Community members say they were not included in the decision-making process, something they claim is a violation of the Brown Act, a California law requiring all locally elected officials to hold meetings in public. Of course, the board made their announcement to consider altering the decision after attorney Paul Scott threatened to file the lawsuit on behalf of the community. Others have taken issue with the “shoddy research and historical inaccuracies,” CBS San Francisco reported.
More than 40 schools are on the list for renaming, which make up one-third of the district. Schools on the list are named after a number of figures, including California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), Presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, Father Junipero Serra, and “The Star-Spangled Banner” composer Francis Scott Key.
The board is set to vote on the pause during Tuesday night’s meeting.
Beth Baumann is a Political Reporter at The Daily Wire. Follow her on Twitter @eb454.
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