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San Francisco suspends change of names of schools associated with racism and slavery

The project was controversial in the United States at the beginning of the year. The city of San Francisco finally decided to suspend its plan to rename 44 schools that bore the names of personalities associated with racism and slavery.

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday officially suspended its controversial plan to rename 44 schools named after figures associated by a local commission with racism, slavery or colonization, such as Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

In its unanimous decision, which follows weeks of controversy and a lawsuit, the school council explains “wanting to avoid diversions and unnecessary waste of public funds in a superficial dispute,” reported several American media.

The measure, adopted last January, was proposed by a commission responsible for revising the names of public schools and created in 2018, before statues of Christopher Columbus and Confederate monuments were brought down by protesters in the process. a nationwide movement denouncing racist symbols or symbols linked to the colonial past of the United States.

A complaint filed against the school board

Among the list of 44 establishments to be renamed are schools named after Presidents Washington and Jefferson, who both owned slaves, as does Francis Scott Key, the author of the US national anthem.

More surprisingly, Abraham Lincoln, yet a symbol of the abolition of slavery in the country, is also targeted because it is accused by some of having played a role in the massacre of Amerindian tribes.

A complaint filed against the San Francisco school board, reproaching it in particular for its lack of transparency, then an order from a local judge ordering them to put an end to the project, had prompted the announcement of its suspension in February.

“We recognize that we have to brake. We must allow the inhabitants to participate more, had indicated at the time the president of the council of schools Gabriela Lopez on Twitter.

The idea was not completely abandoned, however, and council representatives announced that they would look into the matter again after schools reopened and face-to-face classes returned.

The decision to rename these schools had sparked much criticism, including from the current mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, who is black. Last October, the mayor judged “insulting” for parents of children deprived of schools because of the pandemic that school authorities devote their energy to changing the name of establishments rather than reopening them.

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