Boston Latin Headmaster Resigns Amid Race Incident Investigations

(Photo: Boston Latin School)

(Photo: Boston Latin School)

The headmaster of Boston Latin School has announced plans to resign after nine years leading the oldest school in America amid controversy surrounding racially charged incidents on the campus.

While Lynne Mooney Teta did not mention the federal investigation in her letter to the school community announcing her resignation, she discussed the controversy concerning the racially charged incidents, saying that while her decision did not come easy, she believed it to be in the best interest of the students, faculty, and school community.

“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 wrote.

The incident Teta is referring to, which is currently under investigation by the United States Attorney General’s Office, involves a student at the school, who is not black, threatening to lynch a black female student and calling her racial slurs, writes Josh Kenworthy for The Christian Science Monitor.

The NAACP has been calling for her resignation for months over the issue as well as blaming her for her lack of handling racial incidents that have occurred at the school.  Two students brought the issue to the attention of the public on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year when they posted a video to YouTube, blaming her and other administrators for either ignoring or not taking seriously complaints of racism.

While a School Department investigation into the allegations in February did find that BLS administration had properly handled six such incidents at the school, it said the seventh incident could have been handled better, reports James Vaznis for The Boston Globe.

However, critics of Teta said the investigation did not go deep enough, and they filed a complaint with US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’ office, which then launched an investigation in March.  Her recent decision to resign will have no effect on this investigation, which currently remains open.

Despite calls for her resignation, Teta held strong, saying in February that she would not give in only two days after writing a letter apologizing for her delayed response to racial incidents at the school.  In the letter she stated, “No one is more committed than I am to improving the racial climate and culture here at Boston Latin School.”

According to an unidentified person who is said to have knowledge of the situation, the investigation by the Department of Justice and the separate inquiry by the city’s Office of Equity were beginning to wear on Teta.

“She didn’t want the school to [continue to be] in the media negatively,’’ said the person, who also said Teta had grown concerned about the effect of the inquiries on staff and administrators. “The pressure and everything accumulating took a toll on her.”

Boston Superintendent Tommy Chang has stood behind Teta, saying her decision to resign was a personal one that he knew was not an easy one to make.

He has not yet found a permanent replacement for her, but plans to begin a national search, which he said could take months.