Name change underway at San Anselmo's Sir Francis Drake High School, district says

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. (KGO) -- Marin County's Tamalpais Union High School District is in the process of changing the name of Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, the district confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

According to the district superintendent, "the name change process has begun."

This news comes after a 30-foot tall sculpture of Sir Francis Drake was removed Wednesday near the Larkspur Ferry Terminal in Marin County.

RELATED: Christopher Columbus, Queen Isabella statue removed from California State Capitol

Calls to remove the statue circulated because of the British explorer's history of slave trading.

The superintendent of the Tamalpais Union High School District said a group of staff members came forward to the district in June with a desire to change the name of the high school.

"While we engage in the process of renaming the school, we believe that it is important to remove or cover the harmful symbols associated with the current school name," Superintendent Tara Taupier said in a statement to ABC7 News.

Photos earlier in the day Wednesday showed the sign bearing the name of the high school being taken down.

The superintendent went on to say in her statement, "We know not all community members agree with the decision to change the name or the symbols associated therein, and those community members will be provided an opportunity to engage in our process. It is our hope that all sides can be heard and we can move forward with a new name that is unifying and inclusive."

RELATED: Movement underway to erase Sir Francis Drake namesake, sculpture from Marin County
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All of a sudden, the British explorer Sir Francis Drake has been getting a bad name. In Plymouth, England, there has been a movement to remove his statue - and now there is a similar drive to erase him from Marin County.

A letter that went out to parents reads, in part, "that a school name should reflect our values and our commitment to creating a safe and healthy learning environment for all students."

The letter went on to say that the school encourages parents to participate and offer ideas for the upcoming change:

"We at the school and TUHSD believe that a school name should reflect our values and our commitment to creating a safe and healthy learning environment for all students. One of our goals is to become more anti-racist, and our current school name does not align with this goal and our values. While the name "Sir Francis Drake" and the mascot "Pirates" have been integral to our school identity for seventy years, we recognize that the time has come for us to embark upon a new name for our school, one that allows everyone in the community to participate. According to TUHSD Board Policy 7310, the Board of Trustees will consider a new name for approval for the school once a name is recommended by the school site council. We welcome you to join us in this process and thank you in advance for your input."
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