In a recent article, Boston Latin Academy administrators have responded to the recent uprising of #BlackatBLS campaigners by offering six target goals. The target goals are designed to address the racial complaints voiced by the Blacks students. Boston Latin Academy administrators are going to impalement a set of goals that will eventually become a disservice to the #BlackatBLS campaigners.
According to the article, Here are 6 ways Boston Latin plans to deal with concerns of racism, Boston Latin Academy head master, Lynne Mooney Teta recommends the following six goals to reduce the perception of racism at the school:
- Establish a structure that will provide opportunity for open dialogue between students and school leadership in order to develop trust and provide a safe place for students to raise concerns.
- Explore opportunities for leveraging student leaders who are engaged in social justice issues to take steps to develop a more tolerant, respectful school and stand up for one another.
- Conduct and strengthen professional learning to develop greater cultural competency for faculty and provide them the tools to better facilitate discussions about issues of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender and social class.
- Clarify the mechanisms by which students can report inappropriate, hurtful or degrading behavior that they encounter within the school community. We need to insure that hateful, intolerant, disrespectful speech or actions will not be considered acceptable anywhere at BLS.
- Facilitate required educational opportunities for students that include space for critical dialogue on issues of race.
- Support plans for a Teach-In—a full day of workshops for students—under development by student leaders of B.L.A.C.K. in collaboration with other student-led cultural groups.
While the efforts of head master Teta are a start, the result of the six steps recommendations will prove fruitless and therefore the school will continue to foster a school climate that embraces racism.
In the first recommendation Teta offers to establish a structure that will develop trust between for students who have racial concerns. This is problematic because it covers up how the present school fuels racism at the Boston Latin Academy. It does not provide an opportunity to examine the structure at the school that lead to the need for #BlackatBLS campaigners.
For example, distrust between schools and Blacks results from hostile treatment of Blacks and discrimination in schools. Employment discrimination is the primary source of Black student opposition to schooling. Black youth perceive the opportunity structure differently from Whites which leads them to believe schools ineffectively prepare Black children with the same skills that enable White middle-class persons to attain good jobs and wages. Additionally, to only evaluate the structure means that the Boston Latin Academy administrators will fall short because there are many other factors that contribute to the culture of a school.
In the second recommendation, Boston Latin Academy administrators propose to control the way that students express their need to be treated equally. This actually means that they desire to drive the undesirable behavior underground. This is in a hope that the students that are causing the most problems will either eventually graduate from the school or leave for other reasons. This recommendation will not shift the culture of the school and students who feel victimized by the racism at Boston Latin Academy will continue to find creative ways to voice their opposition to racism.
The third recommendation involves helping the staff members. It falls short because it limited to conducting conversation about the racism at Boston Latin Academy. The old saying “Talk is Cheap” applies to this recommendation.
The additional recommendations continue the same theme that the Boston Latin Academy administrators have no intention of shifting the culture but only shifting the primary perceptions of the #BlackatBLS campaigners.
Instead the Boston Latin Academy administrators should have used the #BlackatBLS campaign as an opportunity to teach students how to solve such deep rooted problems.
The first step was to recruit a small pilot group which included teachers and #BlackatBLS campaigners. The next step was to have the pilot group to develop a strategic plan based on the need to eliminate racism. Finally, the Boston Latin Academy administrators should have provided the pilot group the latitude to implement their pilot plan on a small scale and report back their findings.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
“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