Marvelyne Lamy, an English teacher at the Davis Leadership Academy in Dorchester, describes a school trip to the Museum of Fine Arts last Thursday that began with the students being warned not to eat watermelon and got even worse, with security guards following their every step while ignoring other, white kids, touching exhibits and stuff. And then:
As we were walking out, our students were standing in the doorway of the Africa exhibit. We had them clear out the doorway so people could pass by. This lady walks by and says, “Never mind there’s fucking black kids in the way.” And ironically she says this in the African exhibit. We reported all these incidents to the staff at the MFA, and they just looked on with pity. They took our names and filed a report. Their only solution, they will give us tickets to come back and have a “better” experience. We did not even receive an apology.
The MFA today posted an open letter apologizing for the way the students were treated:
Last week, a number of students on an organized visit encountered a range of challenging and unacceptable experiences that made them feel unwelcome. That is not who we are or want to be. Our intention is to set the highest of standards, and we are committed to doing the work that it will take to get there.
We were extremely troubled to learn about the experience a class from the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy had at the MFA. Immediately after being made aware of the situation, Makeeba McCreary, the MFA’s Chief of Learning and Community Engagement, reached out to Christopher Coblyn, Interim Executive Director of the Academy, to apologize and work together with MFA Protective Services to investigate the details of what happened. McCreary and Coblyn have been in direct communication since the day of the visit.
We want to apologize specifically to the students, faculty, and parents of the Davis Leadership Academy. We deeply regret any interactions that led to this outcome and are committed to being a place where all people trust that they will feel safe and treated with respect. We look forward to ongoing conversation and commit to using this situation as an opportunity to learn and create a culture of unwavering inclusion.