Board’s decision remains inconclusive on further steps in the name change process

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A slide presented in the board meeting showing the original timeline of the name change.

Tuesday, Apr. 13, the Tamalpais Union High School District Board, along with members of the Drake Leadership Council (DLC), met to discuss further action in the name change process after the removal of “Olema Trail.” 

Since the initial 79 names were announced to the public, there have been multiple rounds of voting to choose a top two. “Olema Trail” was one of the top two contenders but was removed by the DLC due to the request of the tribal government, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. DLC members voted to remove any indigenous names as contenders for the new school name on Mar. 26, ceasing conversation with the tribal government on school name matters. 

The decision to halt conversation with the indigenous tribes was made for a variety of reasons. The most prominent reason was that the tribal government stated that they wanted to work with the school if any indigenous names were considered, which had an unclear timeline that could take years to complete. 

The DLC also had to consider the fact that the Coastal Miwoks, who initially recommended the school use the name Awani-wi, are not federally recognized while the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria are federally recognized. These two groups disagreed on possible names for the school.

A slide presented in the board meeting showing reasoning of the removal of all indigenous names from the process.

Later in the meeting, community members had the opportunity to share their opinions. Alumni, parents, teachers, and current students were able to speak their minds. A variety of opinions were shared both for and against the name change.

Community members who oppose the name change shared thoughts including worries of the cost, losing a sense of school pride, and the impact on current students. Others who support the name change process introduced the concept of “inclusivity” and reflected the school’s values. This range of opinions led to an intense discussion for the remainder of the meeting. 

People who oppose the name change believe that the cost of the name change hasn’t received enough attention for the community to  understand the reality of the budget. Alumni expressed their feelings of losing the pride they have in their diplomas. Some also stated their concerns about current students and how they have not been heard throughout this process.

Community members who support the name change conveyed ideas of “inclusivity” and other school values. Including that input from as many HS 1327 students as possible would help the school come to a fair decision. Many also discussed the opinions of BIPOC students and how they should be highlighted in this process. 

Once the community input segment ended, the board members shared their views on the process and possible approaches going forward. This concluded in a fiery conversation among board members, some wanting to completely restart the process while others wanted to take a couple of steps back and rethink the process before proceeding further.

While no final decision was made, board and community members had the opportunity to express opinions and acquired more information about the name change for when they do make a decision. The DLC will begin meeting every week to discuss further updates on the name change.

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