A new report is blaming Boston Public Schools leaders for failing to take action at the troubled Mission Hill School.
The K-8 school closed down earlier this year after an investigation found the school did not protect students from threats of sexual misconduct and abuse from other students for nearly a decade.
The latest report notes there was a lack of responsiveness across the system and a lack of accountability.
"Moving forward the superintendent must and will make clear, that individual staff members must assume responsibility for completing follow through on complaints until such point they are resolved," Deputy Superintendent of Academics Dr. Drew Echelson said.
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Boston Public Schools is taking action to address the latest findings, including ensuring that former Mission Hill students are getting the resources they may need.
In a lawsuit filed against the Jamaica Plain school earlier this month, two parents are suing the City of Boston and three former Mission Hill employees, accusing staff of a failure to report and address bullying. The lawsuit alleges that the principal discouraged students from reporting physical and sexual abuse, and also claims that “disability and civil rights laws” were not followed.
Mission Hill School closed back in June, following a scathing report released in April by attorneys from the law firm Hinckley Allen, which detailed major issues apparently going on at the school. The independent investigation found that the K-8 program failed to protect students from threats of sexual misconduct and abuse from other students.
This past spring, several parents shared experiences they've had with the school. Glory Acevedo said her children experienced bullying and physical attacks.
"Bullying yes, a lot of bullying and I've brought it up to teachers and nothing has been done," she said. "I Feel like they don’t really care about the students."
Between September 2013 and February 2021, investigators found written evidence of more than 100 incidents of alleged sexually inappropriate behavior by Mission Hill students. Fewer than half were recorded by the school as formal incidents.
The report also identified a pattern of student-on-student violence, and, in some cases, threats or the brandishing of weapons. Numerous staff reported being physically assaulted, as well.
A culture of fear, retaliation and intimidation at the school for people who spoke out, according to the report.
"The perceived, and real, pressure among the small community to not speak out against Mission Hill School led several parents to describe the School as resembling a cult, particularly under MH Admin 3 leadership," it read. "[A parent] referred to Mission Hill School as 'The Fight Club – Mission Hill against the world.'"
This latest lawsuit also alleges students' aggressors were protected by teachers, and that victims were retaliated against for reporting the behavior.
Attorneys representing the school have declined to comment on the lawsuit.