The country's past apparently is more important to San Francisco's school board than its present.
In a city battling the COVID-19 pandemic, a homelessness epidemic and rampant drug use, the school board Tuesday voted to rename schools that had honored American leaders now considered unworthy because of a connection to slavery.
The people whose names will be removed from 44 schools include Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson; "Father of the National Parks" John Muir; Star Spangled Banner lyricist Francis Scott Key; and Catholic Priest Junipero Serra.
Critics of the decision claim the committee tasked with picking the schools did not seek enough input from historians and lacked knowledge about the current school names.
"In one instance, the committee didn't know whether Roosevelt Middle School was named after Theodore or Franklin Delano," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Current Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also will see her name removed because, as the city’s mayor, she replaced a Confederate flag that had been vandalized at City Hall.
Mayor London Breed joined many San Francisco parents in arguing the school board's decision was ill-timed, given the pandemic and the fact students were not even in the schools subject to renaming.
The 6-1 vote in favor of the renaming drew criticism from some people who said the board decided to focus on symbolism instead of assisting students who are struggling academically, socially and emotionally due to remote learning.
The board's agenda for the Tuesday meeting did not include items related to the academic or health impact on students, or about reopening schools to the youngest or most vulnerable students.
A formal apology to Native American families for "land theft and the pain and trauma caused by racist imagery, textbooks and mascots was approved by the board, which allocated $200,000 to the district’s American Indian Education program," per Breitbart.
All Thanksgiving stereotypes, such as headdresses, were ordered removed from the district. "Misinformation," such as Pocahontas being a "willing and curious prisoner," will be removed from textbooks.
The Chronicle said the renaming project could cost San Francisco at least $1 million to rename the school sites, which will include signage, repainted sports fields or gym floors, and other administrative costs.
The district faces a $75 million budget deficit in the next school year.
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