Bullying incidents at Boston’s Mission Hill K-8 School spur federal lawsuit

The school environment also made the students reluctant to report bullying “because they understood that their aggressors would be protected and feared making the situation worse, or simply because they felt they would not be believed.”

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Mission Hill K-8 School. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The Boston school system is grappling with a federal lawsuit over its failure to protect students from bullying and retaliation at the now defunct Mission Hill K-8 School, as well as noncompliance with disability and civil rights laws, as the financial and emotional toll from the school crisis continues to grow.

The Boston School Committee was slated to talk behind closed doors at its meeting Wednesday night about litigation involving the Mission Hill K-8 School. The agenda doesn’t name a specific lawsuit, but according to federal court records, two parents have filed a lawsuit. A school spokesperson wouldn’t say whether the federal lawsuit was the topic of discussion but indicated other litigation also might be pending, saying “the Executive Session meeting is to discuss litigation and potential litigation regarding Mission Hill.”


The lawsuit is the latest fallout from an explosive report in April by the law firm Hinckley Allen that found Mission Hill K-8 School endangered children by failing to address allegations of sexual abuse and pervasive bullying while also neglecting students with disabilities. The report, which was commissioned by BPS, further found the school administration “created a hostile environment for teachers and staff” in an effort to keep complaints in-house and ultimately deemed the school a “failed” institution. The school closed in June.

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