Friday, February 26, 2021

San Francisco School Board Faces Recall for Prioritizing Renaming Over Reopening

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Over 1,200 San Francisco residents have signed a petition to recall three members of the city’s board of education for prioritizing renaming schools over reopening them.

The petition began circulating on Friday and calls to remove Board President Gabriela López, Vice President Alison Collins and Commissioner Faauuga Moliga. The effort will need 70,000 signatures in total to get the recall on the ballot.

The petition’s organizers, Autumn Looijen and Siva Raj, said their goal is “to get politics out of education.”

“The website’s cover photo of a child in a Zoom meltdown perfectly explains why parents are pursuing a recall,” the petition organizers said in a Saturday statement, referring to a picture featured on their website showing a child face down in front of their school computer.

“Children are in this position because of a school board that continues to support a deeply flawed process to rename schools…all while refusing to prioritize the safe reopening of schools,” the statement continued.

edestrians walk by the main entrance of
Pedestrians walk by the main entrance of Abraham Lincoln High School, one of the schools set to be renamed, on December 17, 2020, in San Francisco. Three of the city’s board of education members face being recalled for prioritizing renaming schools over reopening them.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty

The San Francisco Board of Education has been working since late January to rename 44 schools with associations connected to slavery, racism or human rights violations.

The effort faced backlash as San Francisco Mayor London Breed criticized the city’s school board for its lack of COVID-19 planning.

Breed said in a statement on January 27 that the board should “bring a sense of urgency to safely reopening our schools,” instead of the renaming process.

As of Sunday, the renaming process has been put on hold.

“There have been many distracting public debates as we’ve been working to reopen our schools. School renaming has been one of them,” López said in a statement posted to Twitter on Sunday.

“I acknowledge that and take responsibility that mistakes were made in the renaming process,” López continued. “We recognize that we need to slow down. And we need to provide more opportunities for community input.”

The board president then noted that “reopening will be our only focus until our children and young people are back in schools.” López added that committee meetings for the renaming effort will be canceled for the time being.

“I want us to focus our time and actions where they matter most, on the safety of our children and on getting them back into schools,” López said. “I know students and families are suffering and I want you to know that I hear you and see you.”

Newsweek reached out to the San Francisco United School District but did not hear back in time for publication.

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Originally published at https://www.newsweek.com/san-francisco-school-board-faces-recall-prioritizing-renaming-over-reopening-1571059 on .

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