SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – The San Francisco Schools Board has been criticized for attempting to rename 44 schools.
It was controversial because there appeared to be insufficient research or, in some cases, the committee advising the school board misunderstood the facts.
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The School Name Advisory Committee met on Zoom to determine whether the names of the San Francisco schools are still relevant or appropriate and to make recommendations to the school board.
The committee used specific criteria such as colonization, slavery, racism and genocide.
At the end of January, the President of the School Board, Gabriela Lopez, explained why she supported the advisory board’s actions.
“We are determined to undo symbols of racism and white supremacy culture,” said Lopez.
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For example, Alvarado Elementary made the list of schools that the committee determined to be renamed.
“Alvarado?” Asked a committee member. Another replied, “Spanish colonialist who stole land and resources from indigenous people.”
However, no historians or professors known to us were consulted. In fact, one committee member admitted to doing research on the Internet.
“I found it on history.com, which is pretty believable,” she explained on this Zoom call.
It seems that the research they conducted was not always accurate. Take Sanchez Elementary, named for the street.
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The committee believed Sanchez Street was named after Spanish-born Jose Bernardo Sanchez, who accompanied a military expedition against indigenous peoples in the early 19th century.
“Sanchez, here’s another colonizer. If you said colonizer, he meets our criteria. Colonizer, missions in California, blah, blah, blah, it’s in the notes. Yes.”
And so the committee decided to add Sanchez Elementary to the list of schools to be renamed.
According to records from the city and county of San Francisco, Sanchez Street appears to be named after Francisco Sanchez, who was born in San Jose. He is buried in Mission Dolores. He was the 8th “Alcalde”, which means mayor in Spanish when California was still part of Mexico.
We reached out to the President and Vice President of the School Board today, but they did not respond.
The next meeting of the advisory board will take place on February 24th.
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