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SF May Remove U.S. Presidents’ Names From Schools

Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR may be erased from public school names in SF
By - posted 7/27/2020 No Comment

Thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle for letting us know that the San Francisco school district’s “Name Advisory Committee” is set to review the names of public schools to make sure they are appropriate.

“This panel will be responsible for considering the relevance of schools names and appropriateness of these names when they honor historical figures and making recommendations to the Board of Education for further action.”

According to the Chronicle, Washington and Jefferson are considered for removal due to their having owned slaves. Lincoln is considered by some to because the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t apply to all states and he allowed 35 American Indians to be hanged after an 1862 uprising. Other names considered troubling are Paul Revere, FDR, Theodore Roosevelt, Daniel Webster and may others.

Want to Have your Say? Want to participate or watch upcoming proceedings? The next naming committee meeting will take place on Zoom on July 29th at 5:30pm. You can join with Webinar ID: 864 3957 4268 Passcode: 034854

Watch the debate over how these criteria were determined from the Zoom call on July 17th.

Which names might get removed?

The Guiding Principles that the committee will consider include seeking to change the names of schools that are named for:

  • Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people
  • Slave owners or participants in enslavement
  • Perpetuators 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

Which new school names are under considerations

For identifying new school names possibilities, the committee will use any of the following criteria:

  • Are grounded in social & economic justice
  • Reflect one or more of the five core values of SFUSD: Student Centered, Fearless, United, Social Justice, Diversity Driven;
  • Hold up local contributors vs. national (not strict, but preference)
  • Bring joy and healing to the world
  • Are named for people who attended SFUSD schools
  • Recognize San Franciscan’s who contributed in positive ways to the city
  • Consider the topography of the land and include the location to give deeper appreciation (and use the Ohlone word)
  • Honor heritage of unceded ancestral homelands, Indigenous nations and Indigenous communities
  • Reflect the diversity of peoples who have lived in SF
  • Honor individuals, living or deceased, who have made outstanding contributions to humanity or in defense of Mother Earth
  • Embody concepts and/or values that reflect the district’s five core values: Student-Centered, Fearless, United, Social Justice, and Student-Driven

Under potential consideration to be replacement names would Bruce Lee, Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia.