The Shame of the Five Page Letter, the Federal Investigation, and the Hidden Goal

() wisecatYesterday I posted a copy of the letter which the Boston United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz is using as a basis for launching an investigation into the Boston School System (BPS). The letter dated the Friday before her decision on Wednesday March 2 compels the belief it was this letter alone that prompted the investigation. Sadly, the City of Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and the BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang welcomed the investigation. They did this despite an earlier thorough investigation  conducted by the Boston Public Schools Office of Equity that found the allegations were not substantiated.

Superintendent Chang met  with the head of the local NAACP, Michael Curry, on the Monday before the Friday date when he and others sent the letter. He said he saw no need for a new probe and reported that: “But I’ve said to him if there are any specific incidents that we are not aware of, please come directly to me. Have families come directly to the Office of Equity. We’re going to look at anything that comes to us.”

It was clear thought that was not going to satisfy some. Darnell L. Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, said the controversy at the elite school has unified the city’s black community. “I don’t think it’s just her,” he said of BLS Headmaster Teta, likening the situation to the series of high-profile racial incidents at the University of Missouri that led to the resignation last fall of its president and chancellor. “We have a headmaster and an administration who are tone deaf.”

Tito Jackson, a city counselor, who after the appointment of Tommy Chang in July 2015, said,  “The objective now is to surround and celebrate the leader we have. We have to close ranks because this is really about the children.” He now has tweeted that “I stand in solidarity with BLS #BlackAtBLS. “   How quickly he threw the superintendent overboard.

The letter was written two days after the mayor said there was no need of a federal investigation.  Neither his opinion, the openness of the Superintendent Chang, or the prior Office of Equity investigation deterred the U.S. Attorney Cortiz  from launching her own investigation.

The letter contains few facts but much wild rhetoric. Consider it in light of there being 2,400 students at BLS the majority of whom are non-white. It covers three or possibly more years. It alleges racial harassment, a racially hostile learning environment, racial disparate treatment and deliberate indifference to these issues by the Boston Latin School (BLS) administrators. The evidence it produced was sparse.

It referred to a YouTube video where two young black women talked about “White students directing racial epithets at Black students in BLS hallways” and “racially offensive” comments in social media. No numbers of incidents were mentioned; no  examples of anything was included except as follows:

In November 2014 one non-black student threatened a black female using a racial epithet while holding an electric cord and referred to lynching. The letter said he was not properly disciplined so the harassment continued the following school year.

After the grand jury did not indict the police officer who killed Michael Brown (November 2014) white students made “racially insensitive remarks” over social media to black students. They did it again 2015. No examples of these are provided nor are the numbers of such incidents or number of students involved mentioned.

It did note one instance of a teacher who allegedly greeted a student by calling him the “n-word” but did not tell us when it happened.  It said there were seven race related incidents in 14 months but none were spelled out.

It complains black students are punished more harshly than white students without setting out any examples to compare. Nothing was said about how Asian or Hispanic students were punished.

That’s it. Those are the specific incidents which are not specific at all. Everything is vague and unsubstantiated. That prompted the federal investigation.

It used words as “racially hostile learning environment” and “deliberate indifference” by administrators but nothing supports its statements. It wants: “an independent investigation to be conducted by a governmental entity with the authority to document more definitively the extent of the problem and provide remedies . . . .” It is like saying we really have no idea what the problem is but want the federal government to find something and do something about it. I thought the idea was to show the real existence of a problem before asking the government to intervene.

It notes “these incidents are part of a broader history of racial insensitivity, harassment and discrimination that has existed for many years at BLS and possibly through the Boston Public Schools.”

If all these persons who signed the letter can do is to point to so few incidents among so many students over many years the fair conclusion by anyone reading it should be that f the BPS has to be doing something right.

There is one sentence that points to the true purpose behind the letter. It reads that at BLS there is a: “disproportionately low numbers of Black students relative to their population in the school district.” It does not tell of the disproportionately higher number of Asian students relative to their population. Nor does it talk about student ratio in relation to general population; nor the real reasons why this exists as I explained earlier.

The sinister goal I suggest of those who affixed their signature to the letter is the destruction of the gem of the Boston Public School system: Boston Latin School.




  1. Good-by Latin excellence!

  2. Hello Matthew, Is it true that the Feds are about jump into and begin an investigation of the Chanting , during a basketball game, between Catholic Memorial and Newton North? On another subject, is that a Kilkenny Cat you use in your blog? I only ask because I had a Beloved Grandmother from there. She would often recite a Limrick that started, “there once was two cats from Kilkenny, One thought that was one cat to many”… …………..Does any one of your posters know the rest of this piece? Happy Southie Original Parade Day Route , Wacko Hurley, rest in peace.

    • JRC:

      1. I have thought that perhaps will happen to Catholic Memorial but we will have to wait to see whether the Globe demands it. The federals could decide that the curriculum at that Catholic school should be corrected and put the school into some type of receivership where it will have to follow one prescribed by a court appointed expert that will exclude all religious teching. . Imagine some kids spouting off things they should not have said to other kids and it becoming a big deal. No one was hurt and I’m sure the kids on the other side gave back as good as they got. It’s good back in the time of the Southie/Eastie games no insults were tossed back and forth between the Irish and Italians.

      2. Interesting that you bring up what your grandmother used to say. My grandmother used to say the same thing. I Googled the lines you sent and found this:
      There Once Were Two Cats of Kilkenny
      Nursery Rhyme
      There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
      Each thought there was one cat too many,
      So they fought and they fit,
      And they scratched and they bit,
      Till, excepting their nails
      And the tips of their tails,
      Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.

      I suppose that will be the outcome for all of us suffering from the federal encroachment on our rights.

  3. Matt, historically on similarly slim evidence falsely accused persons were persecuted: “witches” were executed (burned at the stake, pressed with stones, hanged, drowned, etc) and falsely accused “rustlers” were hanged, “lynched”, gunned-down. Heads will roll in Boston because a few overly sensitive souls were “offended” and cried “wolf.” Innocents will suffer under the federal regime’s rigid construction of laws and strict enforcement of political correctness: every social slight, every bump and bruise now warrants a full-court press by the Feds. Matters once left to teachers or principals or school boards to handle, now are handled by our Orwellian federal judicial system.
    For the one teacher and handful of students alleged to have spoken or written a racial slur: a sincere apology is remedy enough. Otherwise, those who disagree about the Ferguson situation (whether anti-police or anti-rioters) need not apologize. Free speech rules in America, or, at least, is supposed to rule.
    As you’ve said, a few vague and minor complaints over several years in Boston Latin, a school with 2.500 students and hundreds of teachers (the best in Boston) do not make a federal case. Yet, despite a thorough local investigation, our overly zealous, overly oppressive federal prosecutors intervene. Heads will roll as the Feds scour every nook and cranny ferreting out modern day “witches” in ye olde Bay Colony.

    • Bill:

      So true and well put. In a six year period there are five thousand students who were in Boston Latin School. The group that wrote the letter solicited complaints from others and they found a few, a very few, without the context in which they occurred. The complaint about lack of fair discipline was made without them knowing what discipline had been handed out to other students. The big problem I see is this is being made into a black against white issue which is absurd and only served the goals of those who seek to bring racial animosity into the discussion. You note that there are many teachers at the school who I assume are from all races. You would believe is such a horrid environment existed the complaints would have come from them. You would also have to believe that it existed for a long time and there would be a multitude of incidents.

      I spent the 7th and 8th grade at Latin. I remember there were lots of fights between kids — the crowded corridors between classes caused some pushing and shoving and name calling. I recall being in one in the toilets so the teachers did not see it. What they were about or who they were between I do not remember. Maybe they don’t have as many with the girls now attending there but to expect kids to be perfect at all times is only in a make believe world. But as I noted, the result of all this I fear will be the undermining of the standards at BLS. Stay tuned.

  4. Seven ‘race-related’ incidents in 14 months? I wonder whether that list includes blacks shouting ‘epithets’ against whites students and their mothers. No Asian student complaints about anyone?

    • Henry:

      It is strange that neither the Asians or Hispanics seem to have any problems. It is strange that it seems to be the whites who cause all the problems.

      • I grew up with alot of black kids in my city, i have been called a “cracker,honky,spud eatin’ mick, lace curtain irish bastard” all by black kids. I saw way more black’s insulting white’s in my teens. i grew up with cape verdean, cambodian,korean, white, black, lebanese/syrian. No other race has insulted me about my race , just black kids who thought they were rappers and drug dealers. I am sick of the racism and all of the hate. I only judge a person on their decency and personality. I can also go to sleep knowing i have never used a racial slur towards any human being. Sad stuff today.

        • Doubting:

          Nice post. I suggest most of us have refrained from racial slurs against others. Like MLK you judge people by the content of their character. Too bad those who gained much by MLK’c courage refuse to follow his suggestion as to how to deal with others.