After an emotional closed-door meeting with Boston Latin School faculty today, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh emerged to address the gathered press with a phalanx of BLS faculty standing behind him. Or so it seemed—until the same faculty members took over the lectern to tell the press that they felt the mayor had let the school, its students, and its faculty down.
In a moment of intense, unscripted emotion, faculty members then abandoned the mayor, and gathered in an impromptu press conference of their own to openly and bitterly criticize Walsh’s leadership.
Faculty members, presenting a mostly unified front, had asked Walsh in the meeting to refuse to accept the resignations of Boston Latin School Headmaster Lynn Mooney Teta and Assistant Headmaster Malcolm Flynn. Flynn resigned yesterday, accusing Walsh and school Superintendent Tommy Chang of failing to support the school as it grapples with an investigation into alleged incidents of racism.
It was a sentiment that several students, leaving the school before the press conference, seemed to share.
"I think it's disgusting, the way they're slandering not only our school but our administrators as well," said Giovanni Whitehead, a junior at BLS. "Ms. Mooney Teta is a phenomenal principal and she has dedicated her career trying to make our school as equal as possible."
Whitehead, who is black, said he does not believe the school has a climate of racial hostility, as has been alleged, and that he believes media hasn't helped the situation.
"News stations are speaking, when they have no right to, on the racial climate of our school," he said.
Walsh, in a meeting that lasted almost two hours, told faculty members he would not refuse the school leaders’ resignations.
After the meeting, Walsh, surrounded by Boston Latin School faculty, addressed the press with an emphasis on moving forward—a message the faculty was apparently not ready to support.
As the mayor spoke, faculty members began interrupting him—quietly at first, and then less quietly—to deliver their own message to the assembled press.
“We do not want the headmaster or Mr. Flynn to resign—and the faculty is on the front steps, making a stand,” announced Zita Cousens, a guidance counselor at BLS, taking over the mayor’s dais before leaving with other faculty members to rally on the nearby school steps, where assistant headmaster Flynn addressed reporters.
With Flynn and many teachers around him wiping tears from their eyes, Flynn repeated his criticism that Walsh, Chang, and others failed to stand by Boston Latin School students and faculty when they needed that support most, accusing Walsh of allowing events to spin out of control.
"Mayor Walsh, Superintendent Chang, just come out and say it: They do things right at Boston Latin School and we're gong to support them," Flynn said.