Security cameras and metal detectors are not in use at Henderson Inclusion School in Dorchester, according to members of SEIU Local 888 who are calling on the district to implement a security plan amid the daily fighting and threats of violence continue.
“There was a principal who gave his life at this school and was almost killed on the sidewalk here and no one is talking about it. No one is outraged about it, ”said Boston City Councilor Frank Baker, who joined union members and other councilors outside of the school on Wednesday.
School principal Patricia Lampron was assaulted by a student earlier this month and lost consciousness for several minutes, as the Herald previously reported.
Tom McKeever, president of Local 888, said the school’s security cameras had not worked for two years and the metal detectors had been unplugged and put away in a corner.
He said that “several knives and tasers” were confiscated from the students when they entered the school, and Baker added that the fighting was “a daily occurrence”.
“It is unacceptable that the district is radio silent on all these issues. We haven’t heard from them at all, ”McKeever said.
A press release from Local 888 said that prior to the attack on Lampron, a union member working at the school was threatened by the same student. This administrator is now on sick leave, according to Local 888.
McKeever and her fellow union members call on Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius for a comprehensive plan to increase security, improve security protocols and keep equipment such as security cameras up to date .
Jonathan Palumbo, spokesperson for the BPS, could not confirm whether the school’s security cameras were working. Asked about the metal detectors, he said: “They have been deployed in high schools and our instructions are that they are to be used daily.”
“We want our staff and students to feel as safe as possible in our schools. And we want there to be a quick reaction if there’s something going on, ”Palumbo said.
He said Lampron is resting and recovering at home. Palumbo said the district is actively looking to hire school safety officers. Officers do not need to have law enforcement training and are not allowed to get hold of a student.
Since the attack, the BPS has put in place a visible police presence, additional district staff to monitor arrivals and referrals, and counseling services, among other measures.
Annissa Essaibi-George, city councilor and chair of the education committee, said staff and families have expressed concerns about the incident.
In an email obtained by the Herald via a request for public documents, a relative in Henderson wrote to Cassellius that he had taken his son out of school two years ago due to persistent behavior problems and had mentioned violence and disrespect among older students in the school.
“Our son did not feel safe there,” the parent wrote, adding that he feared for the safety of his younger children.
The Herald is seeking more BPS tapes on this issue, but has yet to get an answer.
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