Possible name changes coming for James Monroe Elementary, Luther Burbank Elementary in Santa Rosa

3 August 2020

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) — Two schools in Santa Rosa are being considered going through a name change. James Monroe Elementary, named after the nations 5th president, and Luther Burbank Elementary, named for the famous botanist.

“It is our responsibility as leaders to own and responsible for our histories,” said Alegria De La Cruz, a trustee for the Santa Rosa City Schools. “The names placed on those institutions may not have reflected an honest understanding of the history of those people.”

De La Cruz and another trustee, Omar Medina, are two voices in what is becoming a chorus for change and reform. “Naming a school after someone is a great honor,” said Medina.

He does not believe that honor to be suitable for a president who owned slaves, especially on a campus where the student body is more than 90 percent Latino. “What we honored in the past is a reflection of the power system that existed.”

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