San Francisco education official calls for renaming 'slaveowner' schools

George Washington High School in San Francisco.

George Washington High School in San Francisco.  (Google Street View)

George Washington High School in San Francisco may soon get another name, if San Francisco Board of Education president Matt Haney has anything to say about it.

Haney says he was inspired by San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, now famous for sitting during the “Star Spangled Banner” in protest against what he says is America’s systemic oppression of minorities. Haney will submit a proposition as early as next week asking that a handful of schools be renamed after people of color, LGBT figures and women.

He suggested, on Facebook on Sunday, that George Washington High should be the first on the chopping block. Haney wrote that the school should rebrand as  “Maya Angelou High” because George Washington, besides being the founder of our great nation, was a slaveholder. Target number two: Francis Scott Key Elementary, named after the man who penned the national anthem Kaepernick is refusing to honor.

“We tearing them all down,” Haney wrote. “No schools named after people who bought and owned human beings and committed genocide.”

Haney told local media that his goal isn’t to condemn people (though he does say that Washington and others have “questionable human rights legacies”). He says he just wants to give schools more “meaningful” names—names that apparently don’t include some of America’s most important historical figures.

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