Boston School Committee Chair Alexandra Oliver-Dávila and member Lorna Rivera have both resigned from the committee after racially charged text messages sent to each other during a meeting became public.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey sent out the following statement Tuesday afternoon in response to their resignations:
I respect and support the decisions of Alexandra Oliver-Davila and Dr. Lorna Rivera to resign as members of the Boston School Committee. Ms. Oliver-Davila and Dr. Rivera have been dedicated stewards of the committee and passionate advocates for Boston families. Their private remarks, which were recently made public, were unfortunate and unfairly disparaged members of the Boston Public Schools community. As women of color who advocate for racial equity in our schools, I also understand their comments were made in the wake of death threats and unacceptable racist attacks that were frightening, offensive, and painful. As their time on the school committee ends, their work to lift up equity in Boston Public Schools must continue.
I thank Ms. Oliver-Davila and Dr. Rivera for their years of service to our city and their dedication to improving Boston Public Schools for every family. They leave an important legacy of temporary and permanent policies adopted by the School Committee that create more equitable approaches to advanced work courses, attendance, grading, graduation, student information sharing, grade promotion, and exam school admissions.
As a Black woman, I know that racism hurts. The rocks and racial slurs thrown at me as a child left a lasting impression. I believe we can only heal the wounds of bigotry when we find the courage to call it out and commit to the shared work of dismantling structural racism.
The shared experience of Ms. Oliver-Davila and Dr. Rivera, and their decision to step down, amplifies the need for meaningful dialog and important work we must do as a city to address racism. Sadly, their departure also leaves a void in Latina leadership on our school committee that I am determined to address.
Equity in Boston Public Schools cannot wait. As Mayor, I am committed to advancing the equity agenda that is now underway. That includes proceeding with a vote on exam school admissions this summer. I am also committed to preserving Latinx representation on our school committee. I am working to immediately begin the application process for new school committee members to lead the next chapter of equity and opportunity in our schools.