The San Francisco Unified School District stated on Wednesday that it will no longer use the word “chief” in job titles over cultural concerns related to the word’s Native American connection.
The change will apply to all schools throughout the district, which has more than 10,000 employees. The word “chief” has been used in association with the leader of a Native American tribe.
“While there are many opinions on the matter, our leadership team agreed that, given that Native American members of our community have expressed concerns over the use of the title, we are no longer going to use it,” district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe told The San Francisco Chronicle in a statement.
“By changing how we refer to our division heads, we are in no way diminishing the indispensable contributions of our district central service leaders,” Blythe added.
The school district’s website includes 13 people with a title that includes “chief” in the title. The titles have yet to be changed as of Thursday morning, including Chief of Staff Jill Hoogendyk.
San Francisco’s school district has been the focus of other controversies in recent months. In February, parents and residents in San Francisco voted overwhelmingly to recall three progressive members from the city’s school board who have been accused of pushing Leftist ideology and putting children last during the pandemic.
In response, Democratic Mayor London Breed said that the recall was a sign that educators and board members should focus on creating a “well-run” public education system “above all else.”
The removed members soon blamed the recall on alleged white supremacy. One recalled board member tweeted, “So if you fight for racial justice, this is the consequence. Don’t be mistaken, white supremacists are enjoying this. And the support of the recall is aligned with this.”
The former president also retweeted one post that claims the recall effort “was funded by republican billionaires, led by … ‘reopen the schools’ moms that used id politics and anti-blackness to turn out votes within the conservative asian immigrant community.”
The school district is not the only place changing names over past historical concerns. Fort Bragg and eight other Army bases may soon have new names following recommendations from an independent commission submitted on Tuesday.
The military has long considered changing the names of military bases named after Confederate officers. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first black defense secretary, has helped oversee the renaming effort under the Biden administration.
“Today’s announcement highlights the commission’s efforts to propose nine new installation names that reflect the courage, values, sacrifices, and diversity of our military men and women,” he said in a statement following the announcement.
The recommendations could result in the first military bases being named after black soldiers and women, while Fort Bragg could be renamed Fort Liberty.