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New Riverside Unified Policy Aims to Diversify Names of Schools

Student Board Members 21-22 SM Graphic.jpg
Riverside Unified School District
Members of the Riverside Unified School District Board of Education pose together, including student board members. Pictured left to right. Dr. Angelo Farooq, Jordan Genovea, Hawon (Luna) Nam, Emily Torres, Kathy Allavie, Dale Kinnear, Tom Hunt, and Brent Lee.

Riverside Unified School District passed a policy on September 2nd that aims to diversify the names of district schools.

The policy passed unanimously and could lead to schools and facilities being named after more minorities and women.

Tom Hunt is the President of the Riverside Unified Board of Education and was the one to spearhead the policy change. He told me, "It's about the children that are going there today and the children that will be going there for the next 50 something years."

The new policy does not actively alter any of the district's school names but instead opens the opportunity for change. Hunt added that the district needs to reflect the community that it represents, saying, "If you took the Hispanic kids and combined them with the African American kids, and combine them with the Asian kids, that's about 76% of our population, our school population is of minority status."

Currently, the district only has two schools named after people of color. Martin Luther King Jr. High School and Tomas Rivera Elementary School.

Kathy Allavie is also on the board and added one addendum to the policy that requests that the historical meaning and age of the school be observed when considering a name change. She said, "And by historic, I mean anything that been over 25 years that we evaluate it differently and that is because names do carry a lot of weight in the community.

One school President Hunt mentioned for name-changing consideration was Harrison Elementary, which Allavie opposes. Other schools under potential consideration include Riverside Virtual School, Mountain View Elementary, and Highland Elementary.

Jonathan Linden is a reporter at 91.9 KVCR in San Bernardino, California. He joined KVCR in July 2021 and had previously interned for the station in the Spring of 2019. Outside of KVCR, Jonathan also interned for KALW in San Francisco, KFI in Burbank, and Radio HCJB in Quito, Ecuador.