BOSTON (CBS) – The State Attorney General’s Office is investigating a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts that went bad.
In May, students and staff at the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy said they experienced a string of disturbing racist incidents, including from a museum employee.
“Following public reports about the field trip, our office reached out to the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy and the MFA. Our educational and cultural institutions must be welcoming to everyone – especially to our young people. We take allegations of discrimination seriously and can confirm that our office is investigating this matter,” said Jillian Fennimore, spokeswoman for Attorney General Maura Healey.
The office’s Civil Rights Division is conducting the investigation separate from the museum’s investigations.
Teachers said both staff and patrons made racist comments and security guards followed them around the museum.
Teacher Marvelyn Lamy, who said there were 26 seventh graders on the field trip, all students of color. “They were all black and brown,” she said.
One of the interactive displays involved dancing. “There was a patron that said to one of our students that it’s a shame that she’s not learning and that she’s preparing for stripping and things of that sort,” Lamy said.
The museum has since apologized and banned two of the patrons who took part in the incident from the museum, ordered retraining for MFA staff and hired an outside law firm to investigate.
The trip was supposed to be a reward for students who earned good grades and exhibited good behavior throughout the year. They say they chose the MFA hoping to learn about different cultures.