Opinion Piece – Much ado about nothing

Boston Latin School’s alleged problems overinflated by a few

By Kevin Devlin

The recent news about Boston Latin School was a total joke. The cries of social injustice and the allegations of disciplinary disparities is a false narrative to appease a few disgruntled students.

“We must do all we can to change the climate of racial injustice that both students, teachers and administrators face in the Boston Public Schools on a daily basis,” said Jacqueline Rivers of the Ella J. Baker House. That would be sad but it’s not true; totally exaggerated.

I worked as a Boston School Police Investigator for fourteen years (1981-1994) and had the opportunity to meet a lot of dedicated teachers and administrators, as well as tons of good kids. The first day I worked was at the old English High School ‘Tower of Power’ aka the Big E located directly across the street from Boston Latin School on Avenue Louis Pasteur. That day I discovered a student (he was white) rolling a joint in the back hallway near the gym. I took him to the Dean’s Office. He was sent home and had to bring his parents up for a school disciplinary hearing the next day. During those years I worked citywide for several years investigating incidents but also served longer stints at the Big E, Boston High, and West Roxbury High School.

I loved the Big E but “Westy” was a great school where the headmasters and deans of discipline worked closely with school police to keep the school under control. We didn’t view students by race or ethnicity but how they behaved in the school setting. If they caused trouble they were taken to task, disciplined and their parents informed. The students didn’t call the shots. We did. Nobody felt there was social injustice lurking in the shadows or students were unfairly treated. They were all treated the same.

Flash forward to the last few years. After I retired from the Boston Public Health Commission I worked as a substitute teacher. But things had changed. Students were in control now. They called the shots. Administrators cow tow to them. In many instances they’re not held accountable so without consequences for their bad behavior they’re emboldened to continue behaving inappropriately. They’re given too much latitude as administrators meekly pat them on the shoulder, send them to time out and then let them return to class.

As far as sensing social injustice roaming the hallways I didn’t see, hear or sense anything to validate that allegation, because it’s non-existent, not even a factor in today’s Boston Public Schools. After all its 2016 isn’t it?

Just because a few students at Boston Latin complained about some ill-advised tweets from other students doesn’t mean the Department of Justice had to be called in to investigate and the headmaster ultimately resigned to resign. Some people like to exaggerate issues to gain notoriety and get their own way. Making a mountain out of a mole hill is disturbing because it’s seems that in today’s America, the few seem to overshadow (the concerns) of the many.

And the much ado about nothing catchphrase is cast aside without due consideration.

Jeanne Rooney

Jeanne Rooney is the Editor in Chief for South Boston Online.

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