Thinking Citizen Blog — “The Safety Void at Boston Schools” (Marcela Garcia, Boston Globe)
Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day
Today’s Topic — “The Safety Void at Boston Schools” (Marcela Garcia, Boston Globe)
A year ago, Reverend David Searles, a pastor in East Boston, founded “Boston SOS.” SOS stands for “Safety of Our Schools.” Why? Failure of city and school leaders to address the rising violence within Boston’s schools. How can students focus on math and physics when they are worried about being assaulted in the hallways, the bathroom, or the gym? Today, a few more notes. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE REMOVAL OF POLICE OFFICERS FROM SCHOOLS HAD CONSEQUENCES (third link below)
1. “For decades, Boston’s public schools hired police officers to monitor their hallways, a consistent source of comfort and controversy.”
2. “But when students returned to class in September after more than a year of returning from home, the officers were gone, quietly replaced with safety specialists without arrest powers, uniforms, or handcuffs.”
3. “Since then, the schools have witnessed an alarming number of attacks, one of which left a principal severely injured, that have raised concerns about public safety, particularly given the emotional distress teenagers have experienced during the pandemic. Last week, a teacher and a student at TechBoston Academy in Dorchester were shot in the school parking lot in what Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden called an act of “community terror.”
NB: “With no school-employed officers, it has fallen on regular policy and the city’s school police unit to handle emergencies at schools in the neighborhoods they patrol. Between the first day of school and Thanksgiving break, the most recent 911 data available from Boston Public Schools, police responded to 177 incidents at 62 schools across the city.”
WHY WERE THE POLICE OFFICERS REMOVED?
1. “Police officers were phased out of BPS (Boston Public Schools) last summer in response to the state’s Police Reform Law, passed in December 2020.”
2. “The law required all specialty law enforcement workers, including school police, to obtain roughly 350 additional training hours by July 2021 to keep their positions.”
3. “Rather than retain a school police force, Superintendent Brenda Casselius elected to replace officers with school safety specialists, who don’t carry handcuffs or have the power to arrest students.”
FEAR OF A POLICE STATE AND THE COST OF THE PANDEMIC
1. “In past years, disputes over how heavily school officers should be armed raised concerns about a school-to-prison pipeline that unfairly targets students of color.”
2. “In 2014, then-city-councilor Ayanna Pressley worried arming officers could cause schools “to become a police state.”
3. “They’ve gone backwards in terms of their social-emotional skills. It’s like muscles — if you don’t use them, you lose them.”
NB: ‘Police are not in there unless it’s an emergency, and what does that tell you? That it’s a little too late to prevent it.”
Quote of the Month:
“The single biggest challenge in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” (William H. Whyte, author of The Organization Man” (1856)
THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY ARE AVAILABLE HERE:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.