Could you soon be dropping your child off at Jerry Garcia High School?
It could happen if you live in San Francisco, where the school board recently voted to remove 44 school names honoring “problematic” historical figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere because of their links to slavery, oppression or racism.
Even Dianne Feinstein Elementary, named for the current Democratic U.S. senator, has been axed because she once replaced a damaged Confederate flag outside of City Hall when she was San Francisco’s mayor in 1986.
The name of Garcia, the former Grateful Dead frontman and native San Franciscan who died in 1995, came up amid a growing list of alternative names brainstormed by students, parents and staff, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Whether Garcia’s reputation as a drug abuser would negate the possibility of having a school named for him was not immediately clear.
THOUSANDS OPPOSE SAN FRANCISCO’S MOVE TO RENAME SCHOOLS AS PETITION PICKS UP STEAM
Other names suggested include former President Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris, poet Maya Angelou, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, writer W.E.B. Du Bois and the Ohlone indigenous people.
One woman who called on the board to name at least half of the schools for women suggested actress Hedy Lamarr, who helped develop a defensive World War II communications system that eventually led to Wifi and GPS.
“There were hundreds of women who stood out in our history and made important contributions to our country,” she told the Chronicle. “Why not name schools after peaceful women instead of racist, warmongering males?”
Replacing signage at the 44 schools will cost more than $ 400,000, according to the Courthouse News. The price tag could also go up to around $ 1 million for schools to get new activity uniforms, repaint gymnasium floors, walls, etc., according to the Chronicle. The district is also facing a budget deficit.
SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO RENAME SCHOOLS HONORING WASHINGTON, LINCOLN, FEINSTEIN, OTHERS
One cost-saving suggestion: having Roosevelt Middle School — which is on the chopping block for being named for either Theodore or Franklin Roosevelt, both former presidents — renamed for former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin.
Since the schoolboard’s controversial 6-1 vote Tuesday evening a petition against the renamings has gained more than 10,000 signatures from residents as of Friday.
Some were also critical of the board’s decision to seemingly prioritize renaming schools over getting students back to class after coronavirus shutdowns.
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“Our students are suffering, and we should be talking about getting them in classrooms, getting them mental health support and getting them the resources they need in this challenging time,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said, adding that she supports the discussion of renaming schools but thinks the discussion should include parents, students and others — after classrooms reopen.
A mom, whose son attends one of the schools to be renamed and who also supports an effort to recall the board members, pointed out that the people chosen to replace the “problematic” historical figures might not meet the scrutiny of future San Franciscans.
“President Obama wasn’t perfect either,” she told the Chronicle, specifying the Democrat’s immigration and deportation policies as an example. “There are parts of his legacy that aren’t perfect either.”
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.