Did Boston Public School Latin Academy violate Black student civil rights?

In a recent article, Boston Public School administrators have allegedly violated the civil rights of Black Latin Academy students by punishing them for social media posts that reveal their opposition to racism. The backlash is a product of a dysfunctional organization. Boston Public School administrators should take an approach that will empower Black students rather that punish them for exercising their civil rights.

According to the article, Latin Academy students punished for social media posts, Latin Academy administrators claim that after the initial #BlackAtBLA campaign some of their classmates “engaged in inappropriate conduct that included social media postings with racially offensive and threatening language.” Troy Henninger went on to say that “school leaders have addressed these behaviors through the BPS Code of Conduct process.” He would not convey how the students were punished.

The code of conduct is a document that many schools use to justify their actions for discipline. Even though schools have more latitude that other law enforcement entities, it does not provide them a vehicle to violate the civil rights of students.

What are the civil rights of the Latin Academy students? 

According to the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District decision, students do not lose their constitutional rights upon entering into the schoolhouse. The decision held that the First Amendment applied to public schools too. Administrators are required to demonstrate constitutionally valid reasons for any specific regulation of speech in the school and classroom.

Justice Abe Fortas wrote the majority opinion, holding that the speech regulation at issue in the Tinker case was “based upon an urgent wish to avoid the controversy which might result from the expression, even by the silent symbol of armbands, of opposition to this Nation’s part in the conflagration in Vietnam.” The Court held that for school officials to justify censoring speech, they “must be able to show that [their] action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint,” allowing schools to forbid conduct that would “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”

The Court found that the actions of the Tinkers in wearing armbands did not cause a disruption and held that their activity represented constitutionally protected symbolic speech.

Why is it important that the Latin Academy administrators refrain from violating the civil rights of Black students? 

Latin Academy administrators would benefit from understanding the perceptions that many Black students have regarding schools. Black adolescents believe school is a hostile place and teachers are oppression agents. White teachers symbolize the racism Black students have endured throughout their entire lives.

When incorporating students into a marginalized society by slavery, conquest, and colonization, students believe school is detrimental to their identity. Indians, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Blacks share the same experience with having been transported into the United States society against their will and then relegated to subordinate status.

Blacks have learned since slavery that one of the best ways to get ahead is not through merit and talent but by patronizing Whites. This is why Americans of color adapt to a society that does not value their ethnicity, history, heritage, or language by establishing societal survival strategies.

Black parents teach their children how to survive in a world that judges them by the color of their skin by preparing their children to live in a dual cultural world that involves helping them to develop skills for adult roles such as wage earners and parenthood in addition to negotiating a dominant society that has different cultural values. Blacks who live in an urban society and a society that dislikes them for the color of their skin ensure they do not become victims by approaching people with caution, wariness, and a sense of distrust.

Black students do better in school when they believe getting a good education will increase their chances for success. Students who perceive that teachers have favorable feelings toward them have higher achievement levels when teachers have positive views toward them. Children who have positive feelings regarding teachers have higher achievement levels.

The Crux of education is to educate. Latin Academy administrators should use the alleged inappropriate social posts as an opportunity to educate all of their students. The only justification that the Latin Academy administrators could justify is that the social media post could disrupt the school. That is why the initial step for the Black students should be counseling. Once they have received their counseling, they should provide an academic platform for all student to voice their opposition to the violation of their civil rights. Then finally, the Latin Academy administrators should use this opportunity to empower the Black students by teaching this to develop a shared vision with other students and staff resulting in the development of a strategic plan that avoids violating the civil rights of Black students.

Related Articles

Latin Academy disciplines students for racial statements

Mayor: Latin accusations ‘distressing’

Superintendent vows to make Boston schools more inclusive

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.


PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


Get Email Updates

Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

doctor_derrick1     Racism Book          Raccelerate Racism Scale Small

“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

Profile Picture 250 by 250



About Classroom Racism Exterminator

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
This entry was posted in Classroom Management, Community Relations, Discrimination, institutional Racism, Leadership, Positive Teacher Student Relationships, Race Relations, Race Relations in America, racial discrimination, Racial Profiling, Racism, Racism in America, Racism in Education, School Discipline, Structural Racism, Team Building and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Did Boston Public School Latin Academy violate Black student civil rights?

  1. Pingback: How can Boston Latin School eliminate the perception of racism in education? | Learning Flourishes in an Environment Free of Racism

  2. Pingback: How can St. Paul Public Schools reduce student discipline? | Learning Flourishes in an Environment Free of Racism

  3. Pingback: How should Boston Public Schools respond to recent civil rights complaint? | Learning Flourishes in an Environment Free of Racism

  4. Pingback: Why discrimination is difficult for schools like Boston Latin? | Learning Flourishes in an Environment Free of Racism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s