SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The San Francisco school board has voted to remove the names of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other prominent figures, like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, from public schools after officials deemed them unworthy of the honor.
The decision was made at a school board meeting Tuesday to strip the names of 44 public schools, or a third of schools in the city.
After months of controversy, the board voted 6-1 in favor of renaming the school sites with new names with no connection to slavery, oppression, racism or similar criteria, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The resolution passed Tuesday doesn’t change the names or remove the names for the schools. It serves as the board’s commitment to replace the names.
“This is an opportunity for our students to learn about the history of our school's names, including the potential new ones,” Board President Gabriela López said in a statement. “This resolution came to the school board in the wake of the attacks in Charlottesville, and we are working alongside the rest of the country to dismantle symbols of racism and white supremacy culture. I am excited about the ideas schools will come up with.”
The move stirred debate Wednesday on whether the famously liberal city has taken the national reckoning on America’s racist past too far. One parent called it “a parody of leftist activism.”
The school board says it sends the message that racism and other acts of wrongdoing should not be honored.
The board says schools with names that it wants to see replaced will have the opportunity to continue engaging their communities and propose alternate names.
“Suggestions from the broader community are welcomed and individuals can use this portal to submit alternate names and view those suggested by others,” wrote the board.
However, any final decision to change school names rests with the members of the board.