It is with a great sadness and disappointment that I am writing to inform you that racist graffiti was discovered on the property of the Joseph P. Tynan Elementary School in South Boston this morning. This is a horrifying example of hatred and racism, and the idea that any member of our school community would be exposed to such offensive language is utterly unacceptable.
The Boston Police Department and the Boston Public Schools are committed to identifying who was responsible for this act, and we will be taking all possible precautions to prevent this from further disrupting the learning environment to which our students are entitled. Support services are being provided to any students or staff as needed.
Today, Tynan School Principal Leslie Gant and I issued a joint letter to the Tynan School community, which you can read at the following links: English, Español, Kreyòl.
The incident at Tynan School is a reminder of the need to be vigilant in our dedication to the values of inclusiveness and equity. This abhorrent act of racism offends us to our core, and will only serve to further strengthen our commitment to all of our students. Every day in the Boston Public Schools, our experiences as students, families, teachers, and staff, are enhanced by the extraordinary diversity of racial, ethnic, religious and other identities in our learning communities.
In a public statement, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, “What we saw today on the walls of the Tynan School is horrifying and heinous, and a complete misrepresentation of who we are as a city. Racism and threats of this nature will not be tolerated in our schools or in the City of Boston. To whoever wrote this message, you should be ashamed for spreading this message of hate where our young people go to learn. Boston is a place that is welcoming and inclusive of all. Boston Police are conducting an investigation and any individuals involved will be held accountable for their actions.”
Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang released the following statement: “All of us at the Boston Teachers Union stand together with the Tynan Elementary School community to condemn hate, racism, and threats of violence. The words and actions targeted towards this school are a violation of our community's values. The hateful words directed at members of our school family deeply affect us all -- no child, staff member, or educator should ever be the victim of threats, harassment, or any form of hate. Our educators will never be deterred from our mission of ensuring our schools and communities are places where everyone feels welcome and safe.”
Difficult moments such as these only serve to bring us closer together and provide an opportunity for us to demonstrate to our students that there is no place in society for words or actions of this nature. Every Boston Public Schools student and educator is a valued and cherished member of the BPS community, and we act on that core belief daily in everything we do in our classrooms and beyond.