Why discrimination is difficult for schools like Boston Latin?

In a recent article, a federal probe has found that Boston Latin discriminated against historically underserved students. Historically underserved student have been plagued by the atrocities associated with racism since the inception of school segregation in the United States. The characteristics associated with a dysfunction organization make it difficult for school like Boston Latin to eliminate discrimination against historically underserved students.

According to the article, Federal probe find discrimination at Boston Latin, US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced that Boston Latin School staff fuels a climate of racial discrimination and harassment which results in staff failing to appropriately respond to student complaints that has lead to at least one violation of the federal Civil Rights Act.  The investigation found that discrimination reports by students were valid. In one incident a Black female student was called a racial slur by a male which the school mishandled resulting in the civil rights violation.

The investigation also found that the headmaster of the Boston Latin, Lynne Mooney Teta, failed at her duties as an administrator by not appropriately investigating an incident of racial bullying. In the article it was concluded that the lack of appropriate investigation was a result of a close relationship between Teta and the alleged perpetrator. If we evaluate the headmasters response form the perspective of the characteristics of a dysfunctional organization, it becomes prominent on how to appropriately resolve and solve incidents associated with discrimination in schools.

What are the characteristics of a dysfunctional organization that contributed to Boston Latin discrimination against historically undeserved students?

The dysfunctional organization begins with each person’s use of defense mechanisms for coping. Defense mechanisms are the unwritten rules an individual learns and utilizes to effectively deal with circumstances that are upsetting, embarrassing, or threatening.

The second level is skilled incompetence, which is the outcome of the defense mechanisms we have internalized. When the defensive behaviors we’ve learned are transformed into a learned behavior, that behavior becomes a skill – albeit an incompetent skill – that we consider necessary in order to deal with issues that are embarrassing, threatening, or upsetting. A skill that is learned from the regular application of a defense mechanism has a high degree of incompetence embedded within it, because we are unaware of how this skill will impact our future.

Skilled incompetence transforms into a defensive routine. Defensive routines are the third level. When the skilled incompetence is automatically exhibited at all times, the behavior is now a defensive routine.

Defensive routines lead to fancy footwork. Fancy footwork is the fourth level. Fancy footwork happens when individuals try to deny the behavioral inconsistencies they exhibit, or else they place blame on other people, which results in distancing themselves from taking responsibility for their behavioral inconsistencies.

Fancy footwork leads to organizational malaise. Organizational malaise is the final level. During this phase the individuals in the organization will seek to find fault within the organization rather than accept responsibility for their actions and correct their behavior accordingly. The individual continues the process by accentuating the negative and deemphasizing the positive in an effort to cover up their actions. The organizational malaise is further exacerbated by a refusal of one or all the members to discuss their area of responsibility.

How does a dysfunctional organizational characteristics apply to Boston Latin which lead the challenges with discriminating against historically underserved students?

It was reported in the article that “the parent, whose daughter was bullied for speaking out against the [racial] texts, reported the incident in a voicemail to Teta. But the headmaster, who had a personal connection to one of the bullying students, had another person — who was not an employee but who also had a connection to the bullying student — contact the parent.

The concerned parent ultimately reported cyberbullying to the School Department’s Safe Space and Bullying Prevention Hotline, which then sent the complaint back to Teta. The report found that the incident was not properly investigated after that point.

The dysfunctional characteristics that were exhibited are outlined as follows:

  • The Defensive Mechanism is to protect the student who the Boston Latin School administration had a personal connection with
  • The Skilled Incompetence was developed as a process for protecting students who the administration had personal connections with for which they were not aware of the outcome. In this instance, the outcome was an allegation of racism at Boston Latin School.
  • The Defensive Routine was to protect the student(s) who they have personal connections with by not exposing the student to an internal investigation.
  • Fancy Footwork was exhibited when the Boston Latin School administration distanced themselves from taking responsibility for the discrimination incident by having another person who was not an employee to contact the parent.
  • Organizational Malaise was exhibited when the Boston Latin School administration did not properly investigate the discrimination incident.

While many people may believe that the primary violation was to protect individual students. This is the primary reason why Boston Latin School would have benefited from a process that promotes positive relationships with all students.

Related Articles

Federal Investigation Finds Boston Latin School Failed To Take Racial Hostility Seriously

Feds Find Rights Violations At Boston Latin School

US attorney thinks Boston Latin reforms will help racial climate


All the best,


Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


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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 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 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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