The Mission Hill K-8 School allowed students to be sexually and physically abused, harassed, and bullied for years, as school staff ignored repeated parental allegations, according to a 189-page external investigation. In a letter to the Boston Public Schools community, Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said she called for multiple investigations last fall after receiving additional complaints last summer. Cassellius is recommending that the School Committee vote in a special session next week to close the school at the end of the school year. Cassellius said that a change of leadership at the school would not change the culture of the school due to, "...lack of accountability shown by school leadership leaves no hope that simple changes in leadership or governance structure would address the pervasive, underlying issues that contributed to the unsafe conditions at the school." Shortly before this school year began, BPS removed the school's two leaders.
Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius submitted her resignation on Monday to transition out of her role at the end of school year. "When I arrived in Boston in July 2019, I couldn’t have predicted that eight months later the world as we knew it would change. Since then we’ve confronted a global pandemic, reckoned with escalating racial division and civil unrest, and worked to repair community relationships that had eroded trust in our schools and confidence in our city," wrote Cassellius in her letter. "It is nothing short of remarkable that in the midst of it all we also developed a community-wide vision for equitable and excellent schools in every neighborhood of Boston; made historic steps forward in expanding access to our nation-leading exam schools; implemented a rigorous set of high graduation standards for every high school in the district with adoption of the MassCore; and put in place more just and transparent attendance, code of conduct, student privacy and grading policies." Cassellius thanked former Mayor Marty Walsh for hiring her, acting mayor Kim Kaney, and Wu in her letter.
Boston Mayor Michelle remained outside during her early morning visit on Tuesday to the Margarita Muniz Academy. Wu visited to understand the school experience regarding COVID during the recent surge. Wu said "it's been a very difficult time" for school communities, students, staff, school leaders, and administrators during the recent surge of the omicron variant. Wu said the variant has "effected everything that needs to logistically happen." Wu was joined by At-Large Boston City Councilors Erin Murphy and Ruthzee Louijeune, BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, and Muniz Headmaster Dania Vazquez
Cassellius said there are three key things they're looking at to make sure of safe operations: a) staffing b) health and safety in the schools c) operational effectiveness of schools.
State Education Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey Riley said the state will not accept all remote learning days as official days that Curley K-8 School will take while facing a COVID-19 outbreak. It's fair to say that the Curley School community and the general public is incensed by Riley and Boston Public School leaders. Curley School parent Jocelyn Stanton created a change.org petition to honor all of the remote learning days. The Twittersphere has been packed with opinions about Riley, BPS leadership, Curley School teachers, science, math, and more. People are really not happy with Riley.
The decision by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's commissioner to only count a portion of the Curley K-8 School's at-home learning days following a COVID-19 outbreak doesn't do right by the school community -- and the Boston community at large -- and ought to be reconsidered. Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius announced this past Tuesday, November 9, that the Curley K-8 School would close for 10 days and switch to remote learning due to a proliferation of COVID-19 cases in the school. That day, BPS officials said they had identified 46 cases spread across 21 Curley classrooms. Given the infection spread, the entire school closed on the advice of the Boston Public Health Commission. On Friday, BPS announced another 17 positive cases, bringing the total to at least 63. This news came on top of BPS announcing that the Manning School in Jamaica Plain had at least 17 positive cases.
Due to a rise in COVID cases, the Curley K-8 School will not hold in-person learning for 10 days starting Wednesday. The Boston Public Health Commission advised the school to switch from in-person learning, according to an email sent to the Curley community. As of now, the plan is for the school to reopen Monday, Nov. 22. Boston Public Schools held a community meeting about the rapid spread of the Coronavirus in the Curley School on Monday evening.
The co-leaders of the Mission Hill K-8 Pilot School were removed earlier this month after a months-long investigation about the mistreatment of at least one student during a number of years. Former co-leaders Geralyn McLaughlin and Jenerra Williams are now on paid administrative leave pending further investigation into their role in misconduct at the school, said a Boston Public Schools (BPS) statement provided to Jamaica Plain News. BPS conducted an internal investigation after parents brought allegations to Superintendent Brenda Cassellius' attention. The report, which has not been made public as of yet, was written by Joseph Coffey, who works for the BPS Office of Labor Relations. "This decision was made following an investigation that found credible evidence that the school did not take appropriate action after complaints were filed about the mistreatment of at least one student between 2014-2019," said the BPS statement to Jamaica Plain News.
ByMayor Martin J. Walsh and Superintendent Brenda Cassellius |
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping Boston’s families safe, healthy, and equitably supported has been our top priority. That’s why we made the tough but necessary decision to close Boston Public Schools buildings in March. In a matter of days, we began distributing Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to students, we set up meal sites to continue feeding tens of thousands of students and families, and we transitioned to fully remote learning. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort, and one we kept up while planning the upcoming school year. We are still facing uncertainty from coronavirus, but the values that guide us are unchanged.
Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston City Council were sworn into office on Monday, and nothing was more moving than At-Large City Councilor Julia Mejia adding to her American Dream. We'll just let Mejia tell it. And to think that Mejia was almost not elected, as she won a recount by one vote against Alexandra St. Guillen. Not only did Mejia make history, but this current Boston City Council also changed Boston history, which was pointed out by many people, including District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell.
Yellow buses, backpacks and excited kids are here: it’s back to school season. We’re lucky to live in Boston, a city with some of the smartest people in the world. I have a message for all our students heading into school this fall: nobody’s education is more important than yours, because nobody has the potential to change the world like you do. I’m proud of how hard you work and how brave you are in the face of all your different challenges. I know that this school year will be full of new opportunities, and new ways to learn and grow.