San Francisco school board, district facing lawsuit over renaming of 44 schools

San Francisco deems taking Washington, Lincoln names off schools high priority

FOX News contributor Lisa Boothe reacts to city school board voting to rename dozens of schools on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’

A San Francisco law firm filed a lawsuit against the city’s school district and board of education on Thursday for its January decision to rename 44 schools without community input.

Attorney Paul Scott told Fox News his effort has been joined by former Congressman John Burton and Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University.

The lawsuit alleges that the San Francisco Unified School District and school board’s renaming of the city’s schools violated the Brown Act, a state law that requires local government business be conducted at open and public meetings.

FILE: The Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco. 

The San Francisco Board of Education voted 6-1 in late January to rename 44 of the city’s public schools named after historical figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson because of their links to slavery.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who is Black, called the move poorly timed, given the coronavirus pandemic that has kept the city’s schools closed since last March. 

The vote sparked anger among parents who argued that the school board was more preoccupied with changing the names of schools than coming up with a plan to get kids back in classrooms.

The process of naming schools was put on hold in February after Scott threatened legal action. But the decision to rename the schools still stands, with each of the 44 school sites required to submit a new name by mid-April, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

At Thursday’s hearing, Scott said a judge ruled that the San Francisco Board of Education will need to repeal the name change resolution and dissolve the School Names Committee or show cause why it should not have to do so.

Scott said a hearing on the matter has been scheduled for May 6. He said he hopes the school board will repeal its resolution to rename 44 schools, dissolve the renaming committee, and restart the process in a more transparent way – one that involves community input.

Scott clarified that his lawsuit does not prevent any community from revising a school name, provided the process is done after full and fair hearings, community input, and due process.

Fox News has reached out to SFUSD for comment but did not hear back before publication.

Fox News’ Brie Stimson, Michael Lundin, and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.

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