Boston Public Schools’ Report Highlights Racial Bias at Boston Latin School

Education, Uncategorized

Boston Public Schools’ Report Highlights Racial Bias at Boston Latin School

BOSTON, MA – Yesterday, the Boston Public Schools’ Office of Equity released the findings of its second round of investigation into the racial climate at Boston Latin School.  The breadth of this investigation is commendable, covering over 100 reported incidents of identity-based bias compared to seven in the first round. Most disconcerting among the findings: of the 11 incidents investigated involving school administrators, six were deemed violations of BPS’ nondiscrimination policies.

 

These findings correlate with concerns raised in an independent audit of Boston Latin School also released by the district yesterday, with stakeholders noting “low student reporting of bias-related incidents indicating a lack of trust regarding the school’s anticipated response.”

 

Taken together, these reports begin to validate the concerns voiced by students of color and echoed by parents and alumni this year.  They indicate the scope of the work ahead for both Boston Latin School and the district in creating school environments that engage and welcome all our youth.  The report also reminds us of the gross inequity experienced by Black and Latino students who comprise 80% of a district, but less than 20% of its flagship school.

 

The district has outlined several noteworthy steps it is taking to address identity-based harassment, including mandatory incident reporting to the Office of Equity, options for students to report harassment through a student-developed smartphone application, and constructive ways to educate students who engage in bias-related harassment.  The district has also committed to reexamining its admissions process to its exam schools.

 

What will matter to students – and should matter to all of us – is how well these efforts are implemented going forward.

 

Contacts (listed alphabetically):

 

Matt Cregor

Education Project Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice

617-988-0609, mcregor@lawyerscom.org

 

Michael Curry

President, Boston Branch of the NAACP

617-427-9494, bostonnaacppresident@gmail.com

 

Rahsaan D. Hall

Director of the Racial Justice Program, ACLU of Massachusetts

617-482-3170, rhall@aclum.org

 

Kim Janey

Senior Project Director, Massachusetts Advocates for Children

617-357-8431 x227, kjaney@massadvocates.org