JCRC Update on the Renaming of Dianne Feinstein Elementary School
January 21, 2021
Posted by: Tye Gregory, Executive Director
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Education will vote on renaming over forty schools across the city. Names and symbols matter, and we should revisit names honoring individuals with a consistent history of bigotry. But the renaming process must also be based in historical fact, done in consultation with local communities, and free of politics. Sadly, this has not been the case.
Many in the Jewish community were deeply troubled that Dianne Feinstein Elementary School was included on the potential school renaming list that included schools named after slaveholders and murderers of indigenous people. In addition, we understand other school communities, such as Lowell High School and Abraham Lincoln High School have similar concerns.
Senator Dianne Feinstein represents a deep source of pride within the local Jewish community as the first female Mayor of San Francisco and the first Jewish Senator from California. While some may not agree with her politics, her trailblazing history does not remotely meet the outlined criteria for school renaming.
At a time when the Jewish community faces rising hate and increasing isolation, renaming Dianne Feinstein Elementary School – especially without consulting the Jewish community and in opposition to many parents at the school—will only exasperate these feelings and sow further disunity.
We hope that the Board of Education will listen to students, parents and Jewish community members and continue to embrace our city’s shared values of being a welcome and inclusive place for everyone.