Premier Boston Latin School grapples with charges of racism

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As a black student, however, Webster-Cazeau said she lives a different reality than Gallagher.

“I’ve had students tell me that I would get into college because I was black, or that I was too proper to be a black girl,” Webster-Cazeau said.

She also lauded BPS for their help in addressing the situation.

“They have been very supportive,” she said. “We have met with many people who just want to help us.”

Rosann Tung, professor at The Annenburg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, said that with 85 to 95 percent of Boston Public School students belonging to a racial minority group, an inequity is clear.

Tung also said that exam schools like BLS could inherently be racially slanted.

“I don’t think they should exist, but if you’re going to have them, there should be more ways than just a test score to determine if you get in,” Tung said. “[Other ways] would include teacher recommendations and portfolios of students.”

Although BLS used to operate on racial preference guidelines, in November 1998, a federal appeals court struck down that system as the result of a lawsuit filed in 1995 by a white parent whose daughter was denied admission, according to a 1995 article in The New York Times.

Webster-Cazeau said that she would not consider the reintroduction of a similar integration program as a benefit.

“I think bringing that back would create more tensions,” Webster-Cazeau said. “I think that public schools, students and faculty, should reflect the demographics of the population they serve.”

Webster-Cazeau said she hopes that aspects of every culture be integrated into BLS curriculum, institutionally amalgamating all students.

“Ignorance would no longer be an excuse for comments made by students and teachers,” she said.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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