Recommendation to rename San Francisco school named after Lincoln stirs national debate
A committee’s recommendation to rename several San Francisco schools, including one named after Abraham Lincoln, has drawn national attention, with both President Trump and the city’s mayor, London Breed (D), criticizing the recommendations.
The School Names Panel recommended renaming 42 of the city’s schools in a November meeting, including schools named after Lincoln, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Spanish priest Fr. Junipero Serra, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The panel cites Feinstein’s replacement of a damaged Confederate flag outside San Francisco City Hall while she was mayor and Lincoln’s policies toward Indigenous people.
“The discussion for Lincoln centered around his treatment of First Nation peoples, because that was offered first,” said Jeremiah Jeffries, a first-grade teacher who chaired the renaming committee. “Once he met criteria in that way, we did not belabor the point.”
The schools in question have until Dec. 18 to suggest new names, which would be subject to school board approval. The board is set to vote on whether to accept the recommendations in 2021.
Trump took aim at the recommendations Wednesday morning, tweeting that they were “so ridiculous and unfair.”
So ridiculous and unfair. Will people never make a stand! https://t.co/rO3EkzzkVA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2020
However, the recommendations have also drawn criticism on the other side of the aisle, with Breed calling them a secondary priority in comparison to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s offensive to me as someone who went to our public schools, who loves our public schools, and who knows how those years in the classroom are what lifted me out of poverty and into college,” she said in a statement in October. “It’s offensive to our kids who are staring at screens day after day instead of learning and growing with their classmates and friends.”
Today I issued a statement on the need for our School District to focus on reopening our public schools, not renaming them. To address inequities, we need to get our kids back in the classroom. pic.twitter.com/nHnauVZzFe
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) October 16, 2020
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