The headmaster of the nation’s oldest public school resigned on Tuesday, amid a firestorm of controversy over how she handled racial incidents, The Boston Globe reports.
Lynne Mooney Teta yielded to her opponents after months of ignoring them. An unidentified source told The Globe that ongoing federal and city investigations wore her down, and she was concerned about how it was affecting her staff at Boston Latin School.
“She didn’t want the school to [continue to be] in the media negatively. The pressure and everything accumulating took a toll on her,” the source told the newspaper.
Impatience with how Teta handled complaints about racial attacks prompted a Black student group at the school to take action. Two members of B.L.A.C.K. (Black Leaders Advocating for Change and Knowledge) posted a YouTube video in January, in which they criticized Teta for ignoring their concerns.
The video caught the attention of federal and city officials, which led to probes into how she managed the incidents. CBS News said city investigators faulted Teta for failing to respond adequately to a student who threatened to lynch a 15-year-old Black classmate.
Those investigations uncovered more complaints, including an alleged incident in which a teacher called a 16-year-old student the N-word during a lesson on Huckleberry Finn.
According to the girl’s mother, Teta ignored her complaint. It was only after the investigations were launched that the headmaster issued an apology.
In a letter to the Boston Latin School community, Teta said she was “greatly encouraged” by their contributions toward addressing racism.
The letter continued, via CBS:
“Over the nine years of my tenure as head master, we have built the foundation to create a more welcoming and inclusive school environment. There is still more work that needs to be done.”
The NAACP was among the many voices calling on Teta to resign. Michael Curry, who heads the Boston branch, said in a statement that her resignation creates a new opportunity.
Via The Boston Globe:
“Boston Public Schools now has an opportunity to embed leadership that values diversity and inclusion, rejects racial bigotry, and is responsive to every student, parent, teacher, and alum. Now is the time to finally address the diversity of the faculty and the student body.”
Boston Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang didn’t expect Teta’s resignation, according to The Globe. After praising her leadership, Chang said he hasn’t yet tagged an interim replacement while he searches for a new headmaster for the elite school.