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Schools leader quits after appearing to mock Asian names



BOSTON (AP) — The chairperson of the Boston school board resigned Thursday after appearing to mock Asian names during a virtual meeting.

Michael Loconto made the comments during a long meeting Wednesday night to discuss a proposal to drop admissions tests for the city’s elite exam schools for one year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Chairman Loconto notified me earlier this morning that he is stepping down from the Boston School Committee, and I have accepted his resignation," Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “While he conveyed to me his personal embarrassment and his desire to seek forgiveness, his comments were hurtful and wrong."

Walsh went on to thank Loconto for his service to the city's schoolchildren.

Several Boston city councilors called the comments racist and called for Loconto to resign.

“As someone who has dealt with comments like this my entire life, I am deeply disturbed but not surprised," Councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu said. "These comments are unacceptable."

Loconto made the comments after the names of several parents who wanted to speak were read.

He apologized during the meeting attended by hundreds, saying he was talking to someone in the room with him about a children's book.

He later tweeted an apology.

“It was not ever my intention to mock anyone," he wrote. “I know what was in my head and in my heart but I make no excuses. I know how my words were heard and how they hurt. I have always tried to lead my life, publicly and privately, by treating people with dignity and respect."

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