Santa Rosa School Board Suspends Discussion on School Name Changes

Amid criticism of how the process was unfolding, the Santa Rosa City School Board voted Wednesday night not to immediately change the names of two of its elementary schools, but to suspend those discussions at least until to the 2021-2022 school year while launching it immediately. a review of how community contributions are solicited.

The votes, after two separate agenda items and lengthy public debate, leave the names of Luther Burbank and James Monroe on the schools for now, even as administrators have vowed to continue discussion of the change.

The decisions came after hours of sometimes moving debate and public commentary that was at times deeply critical of what some have described as the top-down process of the district to move the renaming debate forward from last summer.

As the discussion progressed towards midnight, board members admitted that tasking school communities with forming committees to engage in deeply emotional debates about identity, systemic racism, and the power structures in the way. whose decisions are being made, while navigating a global pandemic and dealing with distance learning, was problematic from the start.

Ultimately, the board voted 6-1 to suspend discussion of the Luther Burbank Elementary School name after board members said the school committee’s process to consider the name was flawed.

In a second vote, the board voted 4-3 to reject the renaming of James Monroe Elementary School after local Latino leader the late George Ortiz, with the majority of trustees arguing that this study should also be to include more people and more students. .

This story is being updated. Check back for more details.

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