At Boston Latin School, a series of tweets—and a YouTube video—bring racial unease into focus

After a student movement mobilizes, a conversation about race in one of Boston’s most prestigious schools begins.

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.

Two students from the Boston Latin group BLS B.L.A.C.K.—Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge—posted a video to YouTube on Monday to “initiate phase one’’ of their campaign, #BlackatBLS.

“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.

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“#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.

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[fragment number=2]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.

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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.’’

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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.

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