Report Highlights Racial Incidents at Boston Latin School

The audit examined 115 newly reported bias-based incidents

The Boston Public Schools have released the results of its investigation into allegations about bias-based conduct at the Boston Latin School.

The audit examined 115 allegations and concluded that in six cases an administrator failed to "appropriately investigate, document and/or take steps to prevent recurrences of bias-based conduct." It also said that several teachers and students failed to follow district policy pertaining to bias-based conduct.

"What they did find is that there's a problem, there's been a problem and is a problem at that school," Boston NAACP President Michael Curry told the Boston Herald.

It's been a difficult time at the prestigious school, as racial tension has swept through the halls.

"They did not take racism seriously," Curry said.

According to an investigation by Boston Public Schools, there were 115 allegations of bias-based conduct at Boston Latin School in just two years.

"It's been going on for a while, the racism," said parent Rosalind Wornum, who says her daughter was the victim of racial insensitivity because of a teacher's words.

Former Boston Latin headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta and assistant headmaster Malcolm Flynn resigned in June amid an ongoing federal investigation. The school department said Teta resigned for personal reasons, but there had been calls for her to step down after a group posted to social media citing racial discontent at the school.

An earlier school district investigation said the school failed to adequately respond to a student's threat to lynch a 15-year-old black classmate.

Tommy Chang, the superintendent of Boston Public Schools, said in a letter to the Boston Latin community on Wednesday that he will continue to focus on supporting students, parents, staff and administrators "as we move forward as a community to foster and sustain an environment where all feel valued and can flourish."

What should future leaders of Boston Latin School do to improve the school’s racial climate? Rahsaan Hall, director of the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts and Michael Curry, president of NAACP’s Boston chapter, weigh in.

He said the school district has a "moral obligation" to ensure that all of its schools are "safe and inviting places" for every student.

"The racial, cultural and linguistic identity of every student must be honored," Chang said. "In recent months, we have taken important steps to support Boston Latin School in this endeavor."

The report indicates that in seven cases, students are to blame for racial insensitivity to their peers.

The next step will be to develop a plan that addresses the recommendations included in the audit.

Curry hopes that a new leader and a new school year will lead to a better understanding of race relations.

"I believe that things will return to a higher standard around racial insensitivity and discipline and respect for all students," he said.

"Our goal as a district is to work toward increasing diversity and opportunities for all of our students at our three exam schools," Chang said. "This will be a major focus as we move forward."

Mayor Marty Walsh said, "any incident of racial bias in our schools is unacceptable, and that's why we have implemented a reporting system that will ensure that every student's voice is heard. I am confident that the new leadership at Boston Latin will ensure all students are in an environment where they feel safe to learn." 

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