letters | harsh light on boston schools

Unconscionable leadership void at O’Bryant School

I’m infuriated by the Rodney Peterson situation at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science (“Ex-headmaster’s staff say problems were known,” Page A1, Aug. 2). Why was an “instructional facilitator” brought all the way from Memphis to be a new headmaster in Boston? Why was a co-headmaster position created for him at the O’Bryant after the Odyssey School folded? The larger Boston Latin Academy and Boston Latin School don’t have co-headmasters.

Why was Peterson allowed to assume his position at the O’Bryant even after his arrest? And why, even after it became clear he wasn’t doing his job, did no one at the school drop a dime?

This is unconscionable. Would these same poor decisions have been made, and tolerated, if the school involved had been one of the Latin schools?


I recently wrote a history of the school from 1893 to 1960. Almost from day one, the proud school established as Mechanic Arts High School, and known from 1944 to 1992 as Boston Technical High School, has struggled just to carry out its mission, often against the school system itself.

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Overcoming many obstacles, the school has produced highly accomplished graduates for almost 120 years. The prime reason for its success is the high-quality people chosen to be its leaders and teachers.

To Superintendent Carol R. Johnson, I say: No more bull. We insist on an immediate return to previous high standards of quality and integrity, from bottom to top.

Thomas L. Hayden


The writer is a 1957 graduate of Boston Technical High School.