Boston Latin School Headmaster Resigns Amid Racial Tensions | NBC Southern California
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Boston Latin School Headmaster Resigns Amid Racial Tensions

Minority students went public with their complaints back in January

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Tuesday, June 21, 2016)

    The headmaster of Boston Latin School has resigned amid federal and city investigations into the handling of racially charged incidents at the prestigious public school.

    Dr. Lynne Mooney Teta is resigning after nine years at the helm, according to Boston Public Schools.

    "We have faced challenges this year, and I have been greatly encouraged by the commitment of students, faculty, families and alumni to work together to collaboratively address issues of racism and discrimination in our community," Teta said in a letter to Boston Latin's community.

    The nation's oldest public school was thrust into the spotlight in January when minority students publicized their complaints about alleged racial harassment and discrimination. Boston's NAACP branch called on Teta to resign.

    "Boston Public Schools now has an opportunity to embed leadership that values diversity and inclusion, rejects racial bigotry, and is responsive to every student, parent, teacher, and alum," said Michael Curry, president of the NAACP's Boston branch, in a statement to the Boston Globe. "Now is the time to finally address the diversity of the faculty and the student body."

    The U.S. attorney in Massachusetts launched an investigation in March after community members and civil rights organizations submitted a written complaint.

    A Boston Public Schools report released earlier this year found seven incidents related to race and ethnicity at Boston Latin between November 2014 and January 2016.

    According to the school district's Office of Equity, the school failed to adequately respond to a student's threat to lynch a 15-year-old black classmate.

    "After weeks of self-reflection and frank conversations, I realize that in important ways I have not succeeded," Teta wrote in an open letter to the school community in February. "I am truly sorry."

    The office issued a set of recommendations to Superintendent Tommy Chang in an effort to "improve the culture and climate" at the school, which Chang pledged to implement.

    Chang thanked Teta for her work in a statement issued Tuesday.

    "In recent months, several students bravely shined a light on the issue of cultural proficiency at BLS, illuminating a problem that exists not only at this school but across our city and country. Under Lynne's guidance, BLS faculty worked with student leaders to develop a comprehensive plan to create a more welcoming and inviting environment for all students," he said. "These efforts must continue, but I feel confident that the steps taken have firmly put BLS on a path of continued growth."

    Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also issued a statement thanking Teta for her "nine years of dedication." Walsh said he looks forward to working with the next headmaster to "carry on the school's tradition of academic excellence, while creating a positive environment for all."

    Boston Latin was founded in 1635 and names among its notable alunmni five signers of the Declaration of Independence, including John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin.