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‘I did not ask her to step down,’ Walsh says of BLS headmaster

Mayor Martin Walsh spoke at Boston Latin School’s graduation earlier this month.
Mayor Martin Walsh spoke at Boston Latin School’s graduation earlier this month.ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Mayor Martin J. Walsh flatly rejected any suggestion that he or Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang asked the headmaster of Boston Latin School to resign.

“I did not ask her to step down,’’ Walsh said. “I did not put pressure on her.”

Walsh said he met with the headmaster, Lynne Mooney Teta, three times since two students took to YouTube, alleging racial discrimination at the nation’s oldest school. The mayor, who did not disclose the conversations, said he met with Teta twice in his office at City Hall and once last week during Latin School commencement.

Teta has faced fierce criticism — and support — since the allegations broke. The Department of Justice began an investigation, and the School Department’s Office of Equity started looking at new complaints since the initial allegations surfaced. Black leaders, including members of the local NAACP, have demanded that the headmaster step down.

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Walsh said he did not have any further insight as to what was the tipping point for Teta, whom he praised for her work at the school.

“You’ll have to ask her why she turned in her resignation,’’ he said after an unrelated press event at City Hall on Wednesday. “Obviously she had a very difficult year. That had a lot to do with it. Lynne Mooney Teta did a nice job in Latin School.”

The mayor said he’s heard from many people about Teta’s impact on Latin School’s curriculum and the students. This year, he said, the school had its largest graduating class.

“But there were also challenges,’’ Walsh said.

School Department officials said they have eased the process for students reporting cultural insensitivity issues, including the launch of an updated “Know Your Rights” app that students can use to directly file complaints with the Office of Equity.

Walsh also said a search committee will be established to find a new headmaster and a interim headmaster will be appointed in the meantime.

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The mayor took umbrage with critics of the superintendent, who questioned his handling of the Latin School controversy and dealings with Teta, in particular. He said the students first brought allegations of racism to school administrators long before Chang was hired.

“This is a situation that Tommy Chang inherited,’’ Walsh said. “This should have been brought to my attention a year and a half ago. It shouldn’t have gone on for almost two years. There is no call for that. And that will not happen again.”

The mayor also refused to wade into whether the ongoing federal investigation had anything to do with Teta’s decision.

“At this point there is no point to comment on it,’’ he said. “I’m not sure what would have happened.”


Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.