Sun Common: School safety

Print More

Topic
City expands school resource officer program

Recent sources
City’s press release announcement

MassLive report

GoLocal Worcester followup scrutinizing the communication of the plan

T&G coverage of school committee, with public comments from Boone, update on safety audit

Background
This past April school violence leaped off the pages and screens, through the speakers, of the city’s varied media and journalism outlets and into the worldview of every parent, child, student and concerned citizen among the Seven Hills. Guns found on separate occasions, on a student outside and in a locker at Burncoat High School. Days later a cache of weapons, including pellet guns and a crossbow, leads to five Worcester Tech students being arrested.

The troubling trend had been building toward its crescendo for months. Numerous fights and injuries to students and faculty at North High through the winter and early spring; a bomb threat in January the centerpiece to a morning filled with brawls and arrests.

It’s August now. Violence involving youth continued to hold the focus of the public and media through the summer months. The wheels of proactivity decidedly turning, but not at a speed acceptable for many. City and school officials, indeed, have been busy, too, this summer, but to what end?

A school safety audit moves toward completion, the firm to execute the audit not yet chosen.

Then, this past Wednesday, Mayor Joseph M. Petty announced — conspicuously so, being the only official up for re-election among the four city leaders cited in the agreement — that Worcester schools would see a heightened police presence in the form of more resource officers on campus. The addition of two full-time officers and the change from temporary status to permanent of another  —  bringing the total to 7  —  will provide coverage now to all five of the city’s comprehensive high schools; its two grade 7-12 schools; and four middle schools.

The new officers had yet to be selected or trained, according to the city’s midweek announcement. School starts Wednesday.

Questions
As a parent, or simply a concerned citizen, are you satisfied with the city’s response and actions regarding school safety through the summer; is it enough?

What would your solution to the problem be, if you were King of Worcester for a day?

Do you believe school and municipal officials are exercising the proper sense of urgency in addressing this topic?

How do you react to the report that teachers and administrators have learned of new safety plans and measures days before school starts?

How do you feel politics have assisted or interfered in the process of addressing school safety?

What have you done to create positive change in regard to this situation?

Answer these questions, ask your own, and/or discuss generally in the comments section below. Or contact managing editor Fred Hurlbrink Jr. directly at hurlbrink@worcester.ma.

One thought on “Sun Common: School safety

  1. When I facilitated discussions at Worcester’s Dialogues on Race, the problem of violence in schools was often brought up. I repeatedly heard parents express their displeasure with the presence of police in schools. I heard people saying that there was a huge need for diversity training and nonviolence training for educators, administrators, and police.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *