Officials at Boston Latin School put out a six-point plan on Monday in an attempt to deal with complaints of racism at the school.
The steps include cultural competency training for faculty and a series of workshops for students.
The proposals come after a deft social media strategy brought wider attention to concerns about racism at Boston Latin School. Students with BLS BLACK, or Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge, spent the past week speaking out against what they said was the administration’s unserious approach to instances of racism at the school and on social media.
In a letter reflecting on the #BlackAtBLS movement, Boston Latin head master Lynne Mooney Teta said school leaders “recognize that there are issues.’’
She laid out six steps that the school would take to address on the issue:
● Establish a structure that will provide opportunity for open dialogue between students and school leadership in order to develop trust and provide a safe place for students to raise concerns.
● Explore opportunities for leveraging student leaders who are engaged in social justice issues to take steps to develop a more tolerant, respectful school and stand up for one another.
● Conduct and strengthen professional learning to develop greater cultural competency for faculty and provide them the tools to better facilitate discussions about issues of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender and social class.
● Clarify the mechanisms by which students can report inappropriate, hurtful or degrading behavior that they encounter within the school community. We need to insure that hateful, intolerant, disrespectful speech or actions will not be considered acceptable anywhere at BLS.
● Facilitate required educational opportunities for students that include space for critical dialogue on issues of race.
● Support plans for a Teach-In – a full day of workshops for students – under development by student leaders of B.L.A.C.K. in collaboration with other student-led cultural groups.
Several students met with Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang on Monday to discuss the concerns. Mayor Marty Walsh said he planned to meet with them as well.
Administrators will also work with Colin Rose, Assistant Superintendent of Opportunity and Achievement Gaps for the Boston Public Schools, to create longer-term goals to address equity at the school, according to the letter.
In her letter, Mooney Teta said this change was “an important moment’’ for Boston Latin School.
“On a personal note, I have been moved this week by the demonstrable passion and commitment of so many students and faculty to making BLS a better place,’’ she said in the letter. “Our community’s willingness to support one another, to acknowledge the experiences we have had at this school, and to believe that it is possible to advocate for important, meaningful change while maintaining the pride and affection we have for alma mater is inspiring.’’
Students had spoken out on Twitter over the past week, and many wore black on Monday in solidarity with the movement.