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Superintendent pledges changes after reviewing Boston Latin race issues

The review was in response to the #BlackatBLS movement and student activists' claims administrators were not taking sufficient action.

Boston Latin SchoolNicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

A school district reviewof how Boston Latin responds to race issuesfound one violation and directed the school to reform certain procedures.

The review of Boston Latin School, which concluded Thursday,came after student activists launched the #BlackatBLS campaign to encourage students to share their experiences of racism or slurs being used at the school.

Boston Public Schools superintendent Tommy Chang said that their review found seven racial incidents at the school, in one of which the school failed to take adequate steps to investigate the incident or discipline the offender. In that incident a student used a racial slur and threatened another student.

RELATED:#BlackatBLS campaign spurs changes at Boston Latin

“Racial intolerance should never be accepted in any Boston public school,”Chang said in a statement.“This is deeply personal to meassomeone who had similar experiences growing up as an immigrant in theUnited States. ...BLS must take a critical examination ofitself, in particular around issues of race and culture.”

Chang also praised the members of BLS BLACK(Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge), which started the #BlackatBLS campaign.

“These two young women took a very courageous stance by demandingthat issues of race be at the forefront at BLS and across the district,” Changsaid in a statement. “Racism has a long history in this country and city. We will not solvethis issue overnight, but we are committed to using this investigation as asystemic intervention."

The review looked at a November 2014 incident cited by the students, where they presented school administrators with binders full of racist and offensive social media posts. Boston Latin was found to have appropriately handled that incident, because most of the posts were by non-students and non-residents of Massachusetts. Posts by justfour students were found in the binder, and administrators metthose students to discuss their conduct, which the review deemed appropriate.

Recommendations in the report included asking Boston latin headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta and other administrators to:

-institute a racial climate audit before the close of this school year and again .

-immediately launch dialogues on race and ethnicity with theschool community, including members of BLSBLACK.

-work with the district to increase the hiring of Black andLatino teachers for the 2016-2017 school year.

 

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