In a recent article, local community activists are calling for the removal of the Boston Latin School headmaster as an effort to eliminate racism at the school. The beliefs of the activists are grounded in a perspective that will not transform the school. Activists must request a transformation process of the Boston Latin School culture if they expect to eliminate racism.
According to the article, NAACP branch calls for ouster of Boston Latin’s headmaster, the Boston NAACP Branch has requested the removal of Boston Latin School headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta. They cite a long history of cultural insensitivity. According to branch president Michael Curry, Teta has failed the students at Boston Latin School and must be fired.
Curry cites an incident that he believes was handled incorrectly. Specifically, there was a November 7, 2014 incident in which a Boston Latin School student called a Black female student a racial slur and then threatened to lynch her. Even though Teta responded by disciplining the student, she did not contact either student’s parents not did she ensure protection for the Black female student. NAACP and other activists should understand this behavior is consistent with the Raccelerate Phenomenon.
The problem with just removing the Boston Latin School headmaster is that it is consistent with a chicken running around with his head cut off. It is true. If a Chicken’s head is not cut off correctly it will live.
When taking a hatchet to a chicken or performing some other at-home method of chicken slaughter, if you aim to high you will leave the chicken confused and partly beheaded, floundering around while you are standing their and the chicken has the ability to continue to live.
Part of the reason that a chicken can live without its head is due to it’s skeletal anatomy. The skull of a chicken contains two massive openings for the eyes that allow the brain to be shoved upwards into the skull at an angle of approximarely 45 degrees. This means that while some of the brain may be sliced away, the very important part remains. This is the reason that the chicken will continue to survive.
It is the same at the Boston Latin School. Firing the principal will not eliminate racism. If it were so then racism in schools would have ended decades ago. The problem is that racism is so engrained in our education system that you must approach the transformation from a systemic perspective.
The first step is to evaluate the Boston Latin School from a systemic perspective. This includes evaluating the schools system and structure. A Systems’ structure and behavior are easy to see when the causes and effects are close enough to see. However, complex systems like the Boston Latin School have causal and effect loops that are far removed and difficult to analyze. One of the best ways analyze a system is by evaluating events, patterns and trends, systemic structure, and mental models.
Once you have correctly evaluated the system, then you bring together a group of like mined staff members to eliminate the racism at Boston Latin School. This will require promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.
Developing positive relationships with students provides benefits for schools, teachers, and students. Having positive and caring relationships in schools increases resilience and protects children from academic failure, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and destructive behavior and violence. Long-term teacher-student relationships result in increased teacher job satisfaction. Teachers who have positive feelings toward their students are more likely to have students reciprocate those positive feelings. Teachers who develop positive and personal relationships with students may prevent psychological development problems in their students. Students are more willing to develop positive relationships with teachers who tend to form close friendships with their students.
In addition, positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are in many ways the prerequisites for effective learning and behavior. Students and teachers who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction and learning.
The best alternative to firing the Boston Latin School headmaster is to transform the culture which will provide a lasting platform to eliminate the perception of racism.
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