Lawsuit Against Exam School Admissions Process Slows Down Notification

As if the Exam School admissions process could be any more confusing, now parents waiting for notification of acceptance, or not, will have to wait about a month or more longer than usual.

A parent advocacy group called the Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence Corp. filed a lawsuit this month on behalf of several parents claiming discrimination against Asian American and white students under the revised process created last fall due to COVID-19. That process went forward using zip codes, student population data and grade point average/MCAS test results to determine admission to the three selective schools, which include Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and O’Bryant High School. The entrance this year is for students in 6th grade going into 7th, and for those in 8th grade going into 9th. The typical timeline has students and families notified of acceptance by mid-March.

However, in a letter to parents late last week, Supt. Brenda Cassellius said the process would be delayed because of the lawsuit.

“On Tuesday, March 16, in a court hearing for the ongoing lawsuit regarding this year’s Exam School admissions process, the judge stated his goal is to provide a decision on the case by April 15, 2021,” wrote Supt. Cassellius. “This lawsuit directs our timeline for informing families about Exam School admissions. We will move forward as soon as possible. We will also share any impact the case has on the admissions timeline directly with families and on our website. Updates will be available every two weeks…”

That setback could complicate enrollments for families in K-8 schools who have 6th graders. To keep their spot in those schools were they not to get into the exam school could be complicated by the longer timeline to hear about admissions to the exam schools.

According to the Dorchester Reporter, the parent group is made up of 14 families, with 10 of them from West Roxbury. They do maintain a Facebook page under the same name.

Fighting back against the suit are a coalition of organizations, including the Greater Boston Latino Network, the NAACP Boston Branch and the Asian American Resource Workshop. They are being represented by attorneys from Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston and the Greater Boston Legal Services.

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