Washington, Lincoln among names dropped from SF district schools

San Francisco district school drops names including Washington and Lincoln

SAN FRANCISCO — George Washington was first in war, first in peace -- and out of favor in the view of the San Francisco School Board.

Washington’s name, along with those of other presidents, authors, conquistadors and even a U.S. senator will be removed from 44 San Francisco school sites, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

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The school board, by a 6-1 vote, on Tuesday, voted to remove the names of figures including Washington, Abraham Lincoln, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others, the newspaper reported.

“It’s a message to our families, our students and our community,” board member Mark Sanchez said during the meeting, the Chronicle reported. “It’s not just symbolic.”

According to a resolution, which was originally introduced in May 2018, district officials wanted to change the names of schools named for “historical figures who engaged in the subjugation and enslavement of human beings; or who oppressed women, inhibiting societal progress; or whose actions led to genocide; or who otherwise significantly diminished the opportunities of those amongst us to the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

School board member Kevine Boggess cast the lone dissenting vote, the Chronicle reported.

Some of the campuses impacted are Lowell High School, Lincoln High School, Washington High School, Roosevelt Middle School, John Muir Elementary School and Feinstein Elementary School, KNTV reported. Lincoln High was cited because of his treatment of Native Americans and Feinstein Elementary because of a Confederate flag issue while she was mayor, the television station reported.

“I must admit there are reasons to support this resolution, but I can’t,” community member Jean Barish told the Chronicle. “These are not decisions that should be made in haste.”

The families and staff at each school site have until April to suggest a new name, the newspaper reported. At that time, the recommendation would be brought back to the board for a vote.

“I think it’s important to do the right thing,” parent Nguyen Louie said. Her children attend Adolph Sutro Elementary, named after a man who discriminated against Black people, according to the Chronicle. “We should not honor him with the name of our elementary school.”