A local private school teacher has been put on leave after an explosive Huffington Post report this week claimed he had used pen names to write racist and white supremacist articles.
Administrators at Star Academy were “shocked by the disturbing social media posts and other publications” allegedly written by teacher Benjamin Welton that a HuffPost reporter shared with the school, directors Larisa Bankovsky and Margarita Druker wrote in an e-mail to the Globe on Thursday.
The administrators placed Welton on “immediate leave” to conduct an internal investigation, and “Mr. Welton will not be returning to Star Academy,” they wrote.
Star Academy is a small private school offering pre-K, kindergarten, elementary school, and middle school classes with campuses in Wellesley and Watertown.
HuffPost reporter Christopher Mathias alleged that Welton had used the pen names “Sinclair Jenkins,” “Jake Bowyer,” and “Elias Kingston” to write white nationalist articles online.
An e-mail to Welton, asking whether he had used these pen names or wrote other articles under his legal name, was not returned on Thursday.
In their statement, Bankovsky and Druker said their hiring process includes “in-depth vetting” with reference checks, and criminal and sex offender background checks. Welton began working with Star Academy in August 2020.
“We closely monitor how our curriculum is taught in our classrooms, and how our faculty members present it,” they wrote in an e-mail to the Globe. “We will continue to review our employment policies and practices consistent with our mission of providing a safe and nurturing educational environment for our students.”
In a statement, the directors wrote they “do not support, condone, or agree with the white supremacy language attributed to Mr. Welton.”
“Star Academy embraces our responsibility to foster a safe and healthy educational community,” they wrote. “Diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of our organization and in the days and weeks ahead, we look to our close-knit community to move past this situation and focus on our mission of providing our students with all they need to realize their tremendous potential.”
Welton was also pursuing a doctorate in history at Boston University but is no longer enrolled in that program, according to Colin Riley, a BU spokesman, who said he could not comment further because of federal education privacy laws.
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