San Francisco mayor hits school district for renaming schools, rather than reopening

'Parents are frustrated and looking for answers.'

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday hit out at the city’s school district for beginning a process of renaming schools under its control, rather than reopening them.

“Conversations around school names can be had once the critical work of educating our young people in person is underway,” Breed said in a statement. “Once that is happening, then we can talk about everything else. Until those doors are open, the School Board and the District should be focused on getting out kids back in the classroom.”


Breed was reacting to a move by the San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee, which has reportedly researched school names and identified certain ones for renaming. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, some of the schools listed under the proposed name changes included Abraham Lincoln High School, George Washington High School, Roosevelt Middle School and Jefferson Elementary.

According to the paper, certain criteria by the committee included: "Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people, those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses, slave owners or participants in enslavement, and known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs."

In this June 1, 2020, file photo, San Francisco Mayor London Breed speaks outside City Hall in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Included was a recommendation to change the name of Dianne Feinstein Elementary, which honors the current U.S. Senator and former mayor of San Francisco, because she reportedly replaced a vandalized Confederate flag back in 1986.

But Breed noted that while schools have been allowed to open in San Francisco, and many private schools have done just that, so far the public schools have not.

“Parents are frustrated and looking for answers. The achievement gap is widening as our public school kids are falling further behind every single day,” she said.

“And now, in the mindset of this once in a century challenge, to hear that the District is focusing energy and resources on renaming schools -- schools that they haven’t even opened -- is offensive,” she said. 

“It’s offensive to parents who are juggling their children’s daily at-home learning schedules with doing their own jobs and maintaining their sanity. It’s offensive to me as someone who went to 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. It’s offensive to our kids who are staring at screens day after day instead of learning and growing with their classmates and friends,” she added.


The Chronicle reported that the school board will likely conduct a late January or early February 2021 vote on the recommended name changes, but each school on the list is expected to decide upon an alternative name change by Dec. 18.

Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.