San Francisco board postpones school renaming plan

San Francisco board postpones school renaming plan
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San Francisco's school board has halted plans to rename dozens of buildings named after historic figures that a review panel deemed to have problematic legacies.  

The highly criticized plan, which was slated to rename 44 schools in the district including Abraham Lincoln High School, was formally rescinded in a vote on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press

 “It feels like truth won this time,” Seeyew Mo, an activist who led a group opposed to the renaming effort told the AP following the vote. "I’m glad they’ve come to their senses — after lawsuits, and public pressure ... A lot of people agree with the idea of revisiting names, but they just disagree with how it was done.”

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The plan to rename the schools, including Lowell High, Lincoln High, George Washington High, Roosevelt Middle School, John Muir Elementary School and Feinstein Elementary School, which is named after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), was adopted in late January. 

A School Names Panel conducted a review last year and eventually recommended that the names of a third of the schools in the district be changed. 

“We are deeply grateful for the work of the renaming committee and many schools are as well. They are excited about the opportunity to uplift communities that have previously been underrepresented. Our students need to attend schools where they feel valued and seen. This work is anti-racist and we’re proud of that,” San Francisco Board of Education President Gabriela López wrote in an op-ed earlier this year. 

Some critics of the board's decision have said the district was spending too much time on the renaming effort and not enough time focusing on getting students and teachers back in classrooms full time amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The city of San Francisco sued the district over reopening plans in early February. 

In the resolution approved by the board on Tuesday, the board said it “wishes to avoid the distraction and wasteful expenditure of public funds in frivolous litigation.”