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Boston schools official resigns after mocking speakers with foreign sounding names

A moment caught on a hot Zoom mic has resulted in the resignation of one of Boston’s highest education officials.

Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael Loconto submitted his resignation Thursday morning, which was accepted by Mayor Marty Walsh.

During the Zoom meeting late Wednesday night, Executive Secretary Elizabeth Sullivan was listing the upcoming speakers when Loconto chimed in on a mic he didn’t know was on.

‘So that was like Shinya Shan Shan Na and Boo Boo,’ Loconto appeared to say.

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Boston Schools Committee Chairperson Michael Locanto was caught on a hot mic Wednesday

Boston Schools Committee Chairperson Michael Locanto was caught on a hot mic Wednesday

Boston Schools Committee Chairperson Michael Locanto was caught on a hot mic Wednesday

During the Zoom meeting, he appeared to make disparaging and racist remarks

During the Zoom meeting, he appeared to make disparaging and racist remarks

During the Zoom meeting, he appeared to make disparaging and racist remarks

On Thursday morning, Locanto tendered his resignation from the school committee

On Thursday morning, Locanto tendered his resignation from the school committee

On Thursday morning, Locanto tendered his resignation from the school committee

Many believe his comments were disparaging and racist, as the names Sullivan listed were primarily of Asian origin.

The comment was heard on the hot mic around 11:30 p.m. local time.

Minutes later, Loconto tried to explain his comments, saying that he was being ‘misinterpreted’ and was talking to somebody in the room with him about a children’s book.

He had served as the committee's chairperson for the past three years

He had served as the committee's chairperson for the past three years

He had served as the committee’s chairperson for the past three years

But pressure mounted immediately against Loconto, with at least seven city councilors immediately calling for his resignation, according to the Boston Globe.  

‘As someone who has an ethnic name, it’s appalling and personally offensive,’ said Annissa Essaibi-George, a city councilor.

‘As someone who has dealt with comments like these my entire life, I am deeply disappointed but not surprised,’ city councilor Michelle Wu added.

According to the Boston Public Schools website, Loconto was appointed to the committee in 2014 and was expected to serve through 2021. The West Roxbury resident and Boston Public Schools parent has served as chairperson for the last three years.

Loconto also serves as General Counsel at Curry College, a private school in Milton, Massachusetts.

He took to Twitter on Thursday morning to apologize for his comments and ask for forgiveness.

He took to Twitter on Thursday morning to apologize for his previous remarks on Zoom

He took to Twitter on Thursday morning to apologize for his previous remarks on Zoom

He took to Twitter on Thursday morning to apologize for his previous remarks on Zoom

Meanwhile, Mayor Walsh said in a statement, ‘Michael is someone who has done important and difficult work for the people of Boston, and especially our children, but we cannot accept the disparagement of members of our community.’

Ironically, Locanto argued against long virtual committee meetings earlier this month to WBUR, suggesting they were taking away from the ‘good work’ being done.

Since going virtual, the meetings have run an average of 5 hours and 14 minutes long through September, with some stretching past midnight.  

The resignation comes amidst upheaval at Boston schools, which began a fully remote schedule on Thursday. 

Source: Daily Mail

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