The Boston School Committee voted to close the Mission Hill School in Jamaica Plain at the end of June, after a damning report about rampant bullying and physical and sexual abuse among students there.

Five school committee members voted to close the preK-8 public pilot school as recommended by Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius last week. One member abstained and another member was absent.

School Committee member Brandon Cardet-Hernandez said he was sad and angry that the people and systems in place to resolve problems like those at Mission Hill weren't effective. "A lot of people looked away," he said. "So the failure here was not just the school but the system designed for oversight, assessment, support."

In 2017, five families at the school filed a civil lawsuit against the district saying that their young children had been subjected to sexual assaults by a classmate at the school. The district ultimatley reached a $650,000 settlement with the families last summer. The district also paid the law firm Hinckley Allen $250,000 to further investigate problems at the school.

The resulting 190-page report described Mission Hill as “a failed school” and cited “persistent, troubling sexual behaviors by several different students at different grade levels." Violence against teachers included hair pulling and slapping, it said, while the school often took a "hands off" approach to bullying that had become rampant.

School Committee member Stephen Alkins said those families and the problems they encountered were at the forefront of his decision that the school must close.

"I would not be doing my due diligence to say, 'no' to closing the Mission Hill School," Alkins said. "I do know this is something in my gut we have to do."

Several parents of students at the school asked school committee members to keep the school open before the vote. They said they sympathized with the families and children that had been hurt at the school, but said the Hinckley Allen report painted a picture of a school that was nothing like their experience.

"To make an extreme and seismic decision [to close the school] on a flawed report is a miscarriage of justice," said Maura Smyth, a parent of two at the school.

Another parent, Allison Cox, questioned why the recommendation to close came years after the most serious harm had already taken place at the school.

“I find it difficult to believe that this recommendation ... is motivated by current safety concerns," she said. "The district is plagued by dwindling enrollment and the looming threat of receivership. How do those factors relate to recommending closure at what feels like the most disruptive moment possible?”

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been auditing Boston schools as it considers receivership, or taking legal control of the district. The report also comes as the district searches for a new superintendent to replace Cassellius, who leaves in June after nearly three years in that role.

It's also a sad final chapter for the public pilot school, which was founded in 1997 and was once considered a national model for innovation and project-based learning. In 2013, a 10-part documentary about the school, entitled “A Year at Mission Hill,” called it one of America's most successful public schools.

The first allegation of sexual misconduct at the school was reported the same year the film series came out.