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Three Arlington High Students Disrupt Display at Museum of Fine Arts

The involved students, who were on a school field trip, were kicked out of the museum Thursday.

Three sophomores were kicked out of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston Thursday while on a school field trip, after two of them “went on top of an antique bed, which caused it to collapse,” according to interim Principal Mary Villano in an email Friday to parents, guardians and staff.

The third student entered the display but did not climb on the bed, she wrote.

“The students involved were immediately taken out of the museum and returned to Arlington High with a chaperone,” Villano wrote. “It was close to the end of the visit, so the lead chaperone decided to end the trip about 15 minutes early.”

There was no permanent damage to the display, according to Villano. The school is not being charged for the disruption and is “welcome back any time,” she added.

The incident occurred in the museum’s Art of Americas wing, and the bed dates back to the 1800s, according to a report by CBS Boston.

Villano wrote that she was disappointed by reports that she believed blew the incident out of proportion. She added that a museum official told her that “all of [the] other students (about 250) were very respectful on the trip” and many apologized to museum staff as they exited.

“I am pleased that the museum has responded so positively to this regrettable incident and was able to see that the actions of a few do not reflect poorly on everyone,” Villano wrote.

 

The following is the email, in its entirety, that interim Principal Mary Villano sent to Arlington High School parents, guardians and staff on Friday.

Dear AHS Parents, Guardians and Staff,

As many of you have heard, our sophomore class attended a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts [Thursday]. The trip was organized by the history department as part of the U.S. History I curriculum. Over 250 students attended the trip, and for the most part, the trip was a wonderful event. Most students behaved beautifully, were fully engaged in the activities that were assigned by their teachers, and represented Arlington in a way that made us proud.

However, there was one very unfortunate incident involving a couple of students who upset a display. The students involved were immediately taken out of the museum and returned to Arlington High with a chaperone. It was close to the end of the visit, so the lead chaperone decided to end the trip about 15 minutes early. Students then loaded the buses and returned to the school.

Several rumors have been circulating around town and on Facebook regarding the incident. [Much] of what you have been hearing is inaccurate and blown out of proportion. After a very comprehensive investigation by our administrative team and the Arlington Police, we have verified the following information as true.

  • Three students entered the display area, two of them went on top of an antique bed which caused it to collapse.
  • There is no permanent damage to the display. The supports to the bed were reassembled, and the display has been restored to its original condition. There is no damage to the bed itself.
  • Security at the museum asked that the students responsible leave the museum.
  • No other AHS students were asked to leave.
  • We are not being charged by the MFA.
  • Arlington High School is welcome at the museum any time.

Our school resource officer and court liason met with the director of protective services, Mr. Craig McQuate, at the museum [Friday] morning. He assured us that there was no permanent damage to the display. He stated emphatically that they recognized this was an unfortunate incident and that “the actions of these students do not reflect on the entire school.” I also spoke with Mr. McQuate, and he assured me that the museum staff was in agreement that all of our other students were very respectful on the trip. He added that it is a credit to our school that many of the students apologized to them as they left the museum. He also told us that Arlington High School was welcome at the museum any time.

I am pleased that the museum has responded so positively to this regrettable incident and was able to see that the actions of a few do not reflect poorly on everyone.

As an administration, we have addressed the incident with the students responsible for the incident as well as their parents. Appropriate consequences have been assigned. We hope that this can now be put to rest and that our sophomores can remember the positive aspects of the visit to the museum.

There is one last point I would like to make. Someone generated and passed on incorrect information in the community around this incident, which raised serious concerns and created undue angst for many of us. I cannot do anything about this unfortunately, and I am saddened individuals choose to bring negative publicity to our school. This is the third incident this year where someone called the media and shared descriptions of events there were false or blown out of proportion. I can only hope that our community members consider the source of information before jumping to conclusions. Just because it is “out there” does not mean it is true. Our administrative team is committed to getting the true facts out to all of you once they have been verified.

Thank you for your continued support of Arlington High School.

Sincerely,
Mary Villano, Interim Principal
Arlington High School

Tim May 26, 2012 at 01:31 PM
"blew the incident out of proportion " This is the typical Yuppie way of saying its ok that little Johnny broke the bed . Except that a wrong was done dish out a punishment , set an example so maybe it won't happen again. But know that wont happen. What will happen is nothing and the next time something worse will happen. Yuppies do not like to except responsibility for their actions . Its always not a big deal. They put those ropes up for a REASON MARY VILLANO your little animals should learn respect.
Julie May 26, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I think Mary Villano's comment was taken out of context. There were rumors that an ancient Egyptian artifact was irreparably broken, that all the students were kicked out, and that Arlington High School was never welcome back. None of those things are true. Most of the students and the community are horrified at what these three students did, and agree that they should be punished, and that it is indeed a very big deal. However, the well-behaved and respectful students should not be vilified along with those whose behavior is clearly reprehensible.

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