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Not Naming Our School After a Person's Name (incl. Yamamoto)

This petition had 1,345 supporters

WE HEREBY SIGN THIS PETITION to urge the PAUSD School Board to:

  1. NOT repeat the same mistake by naming a school after a person, and therefore;
  2. NOT consider Yamamoto, in particular, as a school name.


We appreciate the effort that the Advisory Committee of RSN (Recommending School Names) has made for renaming our two middle schools.  We also appreciate that “Yamamoto” was thought of, and even recommended, because we feel that choosing an Asian name could reflect diversity, inclusion, and respect.  Nonetheless, we are launching this petition to respectfully urge you to name our schools by using geographic names (rather than any individuals’ names) to avoid controversy, and even resentment, now and in the future.  Please do not use “Yamamoto” as the name of any schools in PAUSD

Our Views and Reasoning:

Our views and suggestions are based upon the following:   
(i) Feeling: There exist certain hurt feeling when the last name “Yamamoto” is mentioned, especially for Asian immigrants whose families were tragically affected in China, Korea, and Southeast Asian countries during World War II.  Likewise, to many Americans who were in the US during World War II, this name could remind many of the chapter in our history when Pearl Harbor was bombed. If you have not yet had a chance to Google this name, please see: (the first search result from an incognito window);  This Japanese admiral is whom many first think of upon hearing the name “Yamamoto,” and our middle schools should never be affiliated with such a person.

We still recall that during your discussion of whether the two middle schools should be renamed, most (if not all) of you empathized with those who in our community who were emotionally hurt by the previous names.  Please also consider our feelings about choosing “Yamamoto” and the sentiment surrounding the tragedies Admiral Yamamoto was responsible for in Pearl Harbor and Asia. The mass killings under the leadership of Yamamoto occurred not so long ago, and wounds could still be painful even now.

(ii) Confusion:  One may argue “Yamamoto” is a common and popular Japanese last name and, in this context, represents Fred Yamamoto rather than the Isoroku Yamamoto. Mr. Fred Yamamoto is, without a doubt, an inspirational figure, but sadly enough, his last name undeniably also symbolizes a notorious figure from World War II – Isoroku Yamamoto.  It is inevitable that explanations about the origin of the name will often be necessary. People may be confused about which Yamamoto a school’s name is referring to: in conversation, the full name of a school is almost never used. Therefore, please do not consider “Yamamoto” or any other person’s name for renaming our schools.

(iii)  Risks:  There is simply no human being in this world who could be considered perfect in all aspects. Even the idea of perfection itself is different for everyone, because individuals come from a wide range of cultures, ethnic groups, religious beliefs, etc. Naming our public school after a person would undoubtedly raise the risk of wasting time and resources in our community in the future, because new issues with a person may arise.  It is therefore wise for our school board members to streamline and save our resources for our schools and children, instead of renaming a school after a person which may require a subsequent change in the future.

To summarize, please do not name our schools after people, Yamamoto in particular.  


Concerned PAUSD Members 

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