Former Headmaster Responds To Allegations Of Racism At Boston Latin School

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Boston Latin School. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Boston Latin School. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Over the past several months, we've been covering allegations of ugly racism at the historic exam school, Boston Latin School. We've talked about the school district's internal investigation and the response from the city's civil rights leaders. Now, there's a U.S. Attorney's investigation underway. Through it all, there's one thing our guests have agreed on: since this is about race, and this is Boston, the current controversy is the latest chapter in a long, unfinished struggle for the city.

"I would say these sort of conversations are conversations about issues that have existed for decades, if not hundreds of years," said Boston superintendent Tommy Chang on WGBH. "This is the oldest school in the country. So, to put everything on this headmaster, I don't think is fair."

Many people disagree with Chang and are calling for current headmaster, Lynne Mooney Teta, to step down. But, to Chang's broader point — that there's an important historical context here — we spoke to someone who knows that context well.


Michael Contompasis, former headmaster at Boston Latin School for 22 years, from 1976 — not long after the court-ordered desegregation of Boston schools — to 1998. He was superintendent for two years after that.


Radio Boston: How To Handle Racial Climate At Boston Latin School

  • "This week, Michael Curry, president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP and other black leaders in the city, said they planned to file a complaint with the US Attorney’s Office, demanding a more thorough investigation of the racial climate at the historic Boston Latin School."

Radio Boston: Black At BLS: Race And Sensitivity At Boston Latin School

  • "On Martin Luther King Day this year, two students at the prestigious Boston Latin School launched a social media campaign: #BlackatBLS."

Radio Boston: U.S. Attorney’s Office To Investigate Possible Civil Rights Violations At Boston Latin

  • "U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz has agreed to investigate allegations of civil rights violations at the historic exam school, Boston Latin School."

This segment aired on March 10, 2016.


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