San Francisco School Board Walks Back Efforts To Change ‘Racist’ School Names

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Matthew Wearp Contributor
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Update: This article has been updated to include the final vote.

A San Francisco school board voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend an effort to change the titles of schools whose names they claimed were tied to racism and sexism. Some of the names include former presidents Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, according to the Guardian.

The decision would have changed the names of 44 different schools and was passed by San Francisco’s school board in January. It sparked backlash, with critics pointing to the effort’s historical inaccuracies and the fact that children were still not attending in-person schooling, reported the Guardian. The board revisited the decision and voted Tuesday on a resolution that will suspend all efforts to rename schools until after all students return to school full-time, according to the Los Angeles Times. (RELATED: School Board Candidate In City That Voted For Reparations Pans Woke Curriculum)

The original effort wrongly accused American Revolution hero Paul Revere of attempting to colonize the Penobscot Indians, the Guardian reported. Another mistake was over the name of Alamo elementary school, which was actually named after the Spanish word for “poplar tree,” and not after the battle of the Alamo in Texas.

School board president Gabriela Lopez acknowledged the inaccuracies in a statement and said that when they return to the issue after all districts children return to school, it will employ historians to ensure a “more deliberative process,” according to the Guardian.

The San Francisco Department of Elections approved Monday the circulation of a petition to recall at least three members of the San Francisco School Board, including Alison Collins, Faauuga Moliga and Gabriela López, according to the Washington Examiner.

Supporters of the recall say they are fed up with COVID-19 school lockdowns and criticized the board’s focus on renaming schools while students remain at home. The recall effort has until Sept. 7 to collect the necessary 51,325 signatures to make it onto the ballot, according to the Washington Examiner. (RELATED: Schools Struggle With Massive Nationwide Teacher Shortages As Students Head Back To Classrooms)

The city of San Francisco was also planning to sue its school district over its unclear plan to reopen schools in an attempt to force the district to ensure students can return to class.