Latin Academy students punished for social media posts

<?EM-dummyText [Drophead goes here] ?>

Latin Academy is one of the city’s three exam schools.
Latin Academy is one of the city’s three exam schools.

A controversy over alleged racism at Boston Latin School spilled over into conflict at another of the city's elite exam schools, leading to punishment of students who posted offensive messages on social media.

Latin School students have posted personal stories of feeling insulted and marginalized on social media using the hashtag #BlackAtBLS since a student group at the prestigious public school launched an awareness campaign last week.

But after students at Boston Latin Academy adopted the related hashtag #BlackAtBLA, some classmates "engaged in inappropriate conduct that included social media postings with racially offensive and threatening language," Latin Academy's headmaster, Troy Henninger, wrote in an e-mail to the school community Tuesday.


"School leaders have addressed these behaviors through the BPS Code of Conduct process," Henninger wrote. He did not say how the students were punished.

He said the school also extended its homeroom period Tuesday so students could discuss proper behavior on social media, and the school will provide forums for students to discuss race and diversity.

At Latin School, headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta pledged to work for a more inclusive environment in a Monday memo to the school community,

"Over the past week, we have received important feedback that we are falling short in meeting our mission for some of our students," she wrote. "If we are falling short for some of our students, then we are falling short for all of our students."

Mayor Martin J. Walsh addressed the Latin School controversy Tuesday in an appearance on the WBUR program "Radio Boston."

"What bothers me is that it was brought up last year, and nothing was done then," Walsh said of racial incidents reported at Latin School.

Walsh said the issue of race in Boston schools "goes deeper than just at Boston Latin School." He added that after the School Department completes its investigation into the allegations and develops a plan to address the issue, "we'll take it across the district."


Sean Murphy of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.