Sunday, June 12, 2016

Racism in Boston’s schools was focus of gathering at Dorchester church - The Boston Globe

Racism in Boston’s schools was focus of gathering at Dorchester church - The Boston Globe:

Racism in Boston’s schools focus of Dorchester gathering

A white student at East Boston High School told a story about a history teacher who said white privilege doesn’t exist.
A Boston Latin Academy freshman who is biracial talked about a white student who reacted to the hashtag used for stories about racism at the prestigious Boston Latin School by threatening to become a Nazi.
Those stories were among the experiences shared Saturday in the basement of Greater Love Tabernacle in Dorchester, where about 100 students, parents, teachers, ministers, and community leaders discussed the racial climate in Boston public schools and ways to improve it.
“It’s been the elephant in the room and nobody wants to talk about it, but yet it impacts every single thing that we do,” said Barbara Fields, a former BPS equity officer. “I would challenge anyone in this room to come up with an issue that we’re dealing with and show how race has nothing to do with it.”
Complaints of racism and segregation have a long history in Boston’s public school system, which was ordered by a judge to desegregate through a busing system in 1974.
The latest discussion about racism in the schools was brought to the fore anew on Martin Luther King Jr. Day when two Latin School seniors, Meggie Noel and Kylie Webster-Cazeau, posted a video to YouTube in which they denounced the racial climate at the exam school. They complained that some classmates used racial slurs inside the school and on social media, but did not face discipline.
Both participated in Saturday’s gathering, called a Town Hall Action Meeting.
Their video and social media campaign prompted school department officials to launch an investigation in which they found administrators properly handled six race-based incidents reported over a 16-month period but mishandled a seventh.
Latin School headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta later apologized for not responding more quickly to racial tensions, but the local branch of the NAACP and US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz both launched investigations of racism at the school.
The gathering in the church basement Saturday was among a series of events organized by community leaders since Noel and Webster-Cazeau posted their video.
The assembly also observed a moment of silence in honor of Raekwon Brown, a 17-year-old junior gunned down Wednesday outside Jeremiah E. Burke High School.


“We need to get the activists unified so that we could come up with a single set of strategies and recommendations in order to help them change the Boston public school system,” said the Rev. Racism in Boston’s schools was focus of gathering at Dorchester church - The Boston Globe:


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