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Second Boston School Committee Member Resigns Following Leaked Text Messages

A text-message scandal has now pushed a second member off of Boston’s appointed school committee.

Alexandra Oliver-Dávila — the committee’s chair and a member since 2016 — submitted her resignation to Acting Mayor Kim Janey on Monday, following Dr. Lorna Rivera, who resigned on Friday.

Oliver-Dávila reportedly texted to Rivera, “I hate [West Roxbury]” and called some white parents “delusional." The conversation took place during last fall’s heated debate over admissions policy at the city’s exam schools.

Oliver-Dávila, executive director of the Roxbury nonprofit Sociedad Latina, wrote in a resignation statement (PDF), that — while her language was “inappropriate” — she is “not ashamed of the feelings from history that made me write those words.”

After recalling memories of insults and racist attacks during her childhood as an immigrant to Boston, Oliver-Dávila wrote: “My lived experience of growing up fearing people from certain neighborhoods … is real and is what helped shape who I am today.”

In her own resignation letter submitted Friday, Lorna Rivera, a sociologist at UMass Boston, attributed her departure to deteriorating mental and physical health after receiving harassment and threats over email.

The text of Lorna Rivera's letter of resignation sent last Friday.
The text of Lorna Rivera's letter of resignation sent last Friday.

State Rep. Ed Coppinger and outgoing City Council President Matt O’Malley of West Roxbury had called for both Rivera and Oliver-Dávila to resign.

The resignations leave Janey with two vacancies to fill on the seven-member school committee. In a statement, she wrote that “their departure … leaves a void in Latina leadership on our school committee that I am determined to address.”

Oliver-Dávila is the second chairperson to leave the committee under a cloud in the past eight months. Michael Loconto, who held the position before her, resigned shortly after he was caught mocking Asian commenters' names during the October meeting.

Related:

Max Larkin Twitter Reporter, Edify
Max Larkin is a multimedia reporter for Edify, WBUR's education vertical.

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