Pressure on the city of Boston to come up with a comprehensive action plan for school safety continues to build. Demands for clearer rules have come about after a principal at the Henderson Inclusion School in Dorchester was attacked in November.
At a Boston School Committee meeting Dec. 15, Local 888 President Tom McKeever sought answers on the situation at the Dorchester school and the overall issue of safety. So far, the Boston Public Schools have failed to provide records requested by the union.
He added that the district has also failed to respond to concerns regarding the school’s failure to use metal detectors and cameras for a couple of years. Since the union raised these issues, some cameras have been removed, but the department has not issued a policy on the matter.
In addition, McKeever criticized the school district for failing to respond to requests by Boston City Councilor Frank Baker, whose district covers the Henderson, for pertinent safety records. The councilor wants the school department to issue a memorandum of understanding on what procedures employees should follow if a situation gets out of hand.
A student was arrested Nov. 3 after the Henderson principal, Patricia Lampron, was assaulted and knocked unconscious. Lampron was released from the hospital the next day, but had been still recovering.
Several students, parents, and staff members witnessed the attack on Lampron,
A 16-year-old girl is facing one count of assault and battery on a victim over the age of 60; one count of assault causing serious bodily injury and two counts of assault and battery on a public employee.
An array of signs saying “Restore School Safety” was the backdrop to a Nov. 24 rally and media event organized by Local 888 at the Henderson School.
“We’re here to bring worker, parent and student concerns to the forefront,” said McKeever. “The assault on the principal has heightened staff and parental fears over safety and has upset and shocked students as well.” said McKeever. “We are asking school Superintendent Brenda Cassellius to hear our calls for increased safety in the schools and act on them.”
Local 888’s members include 325 Boston school administration and support staff, such as school secretaries.
Then, on Dec. 2, there was reportedly a second assault at the Henderson School, this time on a student. Local 888 senior organizer Neal O’Brien wrote to the new mayor, Michelle Wu: “A blind Asian student was struck in the back of his head so hard (he was) launched clear across the bathroom (and) smashed the front of his head into a wall.”
For a full report on the November rally, see https://www.seiu888.org/2021/11/29/rally-puts-media-focus-on-dorchester-school-where-principal-was-assaulted/.