The San Francisco Board of Education voted to remove the names of former presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln from all public schools after accusing them of being racist, as reported by ABC News.
The board voted 6-1 on Tuesday to strip the names of multiple historical figures from schools throughout the district, claiming that such figures were tied to the “subjugation” of minorities throughout history. Another figure whose name was removed was incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has faced a reckoning from the Left in recent years over her actions as Mayor of San Francisco; in 1984, then-Mayor Feinstein replaced a Confederate flag at City Hall that had been vandalized by protesters.
Gabriela Lopez, the president of the board, claimed that the decision “in no way cancels or erases history,” but that it instead “shifts from upholding them and honoring them,” and is “an opportunity to uplift new voices.” However, many parents in the district opposed the decision, including a group called Families for San Francisco. The group’s executive director Seeyew Mo said that “it is very important for the community at large to be engaged to figure out who should be honored with public school names,” and called for “historical experts to provide historical context as we are evaluating people from the past with today’s sensibilities.”
Even the incumbent mayor, London Breed, criticized the move by the school board, saying that the decision should have included parents, students, and others involved in the school system. She added that the decision was poorly-timed, as the school system has chosen to prioritize such trivial matters as name changes while it is currently dealing with the Chinese coronavirus lockdown crisis.
“Our students are suffering,” Mayor Breed said, “and we should be talking about getting them in classrooms, getting them mental health support, and getting them the resources they need in this challenging time.”