A campaign organized by black students at Boston Latin, the oldest and one of the most prestigious high schools in the country, hopes to raise awareness of what they say is rampant racism.
“We are here today to make our voices heard,’’ says BLS B.L.A.C.K. President Meggie Noel in the video.
In the video, Noel and BLS B.L.A.C.K. member Kylie Webster-Cazeau ask their peers to use the hashtag #BlackatBLS to raise awareness of issues they say permeate the school. They cite incidents in which their white peers used racial slurs and weren’t reprimanded by school officials.
“#BlackatBLS: When your white peers are using Twitter and Facebook to put out racial slurs and negative things about students of color and you print out the tweets and give them to your headmaster in a binder and she does nothing about it,’’ Webster-Cazeau says in the video.
Boston Latin’s headmaster had not yet responded to a request for comment by the time of publication, but the Boston Latin School Twitter acknowledged the movement Tuesday.
Thank you #BLACKatBLS for bringing your concerns forward. Eager to work together to create a better BLS climate for all -- LMT, Headmaster— Boston Latin School (@bostonlatin) January 19, 2016
Boston Public Schools announced that it would investigate the students’ claims and provide mandatory training for all school leaders on how to respond to reports of bias, The Boston Globe reports.
“While it is unfortunate that we continue to struggle in this city and in our schools with racial divides and tensions,’’ said Superintendent Tommy Chang in a statement, according to the Globe. “I am incredibly proud to know we have students who are able to organize respectfully and advocate for themselves in a thoughtful manner and receive the attention to their concerns that they deserve.’’
Using the hashtag #BlackatBLS, students and alumni shared their own experiences on social media.
"Ugh I wish I was black or something then I wouldn't have gotten deferred" Real thing someone at BLS said to me the other day #BlackAtBLS— Trevor (@thalprice) January 18, 2016
"You speak so white" I'm sorry. I didn't realize intelligence and eloquence was only associated with white people #BlackAtBls— Meggie Noel . (@megosaurus_rawr) January 18, 2016
Throw back to when BLS gave a sexting assembly instead of addressing the racist comments said by actual (UNPENALIZED) students? #BlackAtBLS— X (@Trinitirican) January 19, 2016
in 9th grade we read the novel "Black Boy" and this kid had the audacity to ask "why can't we read a book called White Boy?" #BlackAtBLS— new year same kazoo (@alostkaz) January 19, 2016
Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson has shown support for the movement, and told the Boston Herald that Boston Latin has “not really taken these what I believe important issues to heart and actually done something about them.’’
Boston Public Schools spokesman Richard Weir said in a statement to the Herald that leaders at the school take the students’ concerns “very seriously.’’ Boston Latin’s student body is 8.5 percent black, compared to a district-wide 35 percent.