BOSTON (WHDH) - A Jamaica Plain school is getting a failing grade from Boston’s superintendent.
Dr. Brenda Casseillus is recommending that the Mission Hill School, which has been open since 2012, shut down at the end of this school year after a bombshell report details years of sex and violence among the student body.
“Based on the persistent pattern of abuse confirmed in this independent report, the only viable option is to close the school and support students in their transition to other schools in the district,” a spokesperson for the district wrote Wednesday evening.
The lengthy, 195 page report says the investigation into the school was opened last fall when Casseillus contacted the law firm, Hinckley Allen. She asked them to look into a number of allegations made about the environment and culture at this pilot school in Jamaica Plain. Investigators say they conducted 65 interviews and sifted through more than 2 million documents pertaining to incidents that dated back in 2014.
Some of the failures by school personnel are outlined in this report are as follows:
The school failed to protect students from threats of sexual misconduct and abuse from other students.
The school failed to properly address bullying.
Some personnel routinely dismissed complaints.
The report details other safety concerns like student-on-student violence, threats and even students having weapons. In addition – the report found the school failed to deliver a sufficient academic curriculum — which was reflected in a number of ways inlcuding low MCAS scores. The report also says the school failed to deliver special needs services and ensure equity among all students, regardless of their gender or race.
Those investigators now call it, “a failed school.”
Mission Hill is a pilot school that was founded in Roxbury back in 1997. About 200 students in grades K-8 attend.
Some of their parents told investigators the school can be like a cult and a retaliatory and hostile environment was created by some members of the school leadership.
The district said that any staff members who were involved in any of the cases outlined in the report, are either no longer in the BPS system or have been placed on leave pending the outcome of further investigations.
Any staff who were not involved will get assistance getting jobs within other schools in the system.
“I’m devastated to learn about the persistent abuse at the Mission Hill School. While closure is never an easy decision, in this case, it is the right one. During this period of transition for BPS, I am committed to building a leadership team and a culture that brings accountability to every level of the district and ensures no child ever experiences violence in our schools,” said Mayor Michelle Wu.
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