Boston/ Community & Society
AI Assisted Icon
Published on February 26, 2024
Brockton Community Rallies for Student Safety, Mayor Opposes National Guard in SchoolsSource: Google Street View

In Brockton, Massachusetts, the start of a new school week was marked not only by the return of students to Brockton High School but also by a community rally outside the institution early Monday morning. Local residents, displaying signs of encouragement, stood by the Forest Avenue entrance from 6:30 to 7:10 a.m, showing solidarity with students and staff amid ongoing safety concerns. The city's school committee has notably requested National Guard intervention to address these security issues, a proposal that has divided the community and stirred much debate. According to NBC Boston, the mayor has denied an unprecedented ask for the military's presence at the school.

Meanwhile, the Brockton School Committee is awaiting a proposal from the city's officials in response to their contentious call for National Guard support. School committee member Tony Rodrigues has made clear the committee's stance during a community gathering early Monday. "We have to work as a team,” Rodrigues asserted in an interview obtained by Boston 25 News. “We’re not trying to have a school-to-prison pipeline.” This plea for aid stems from several incidents of violence within the school, which educators fear could lead to 'potential tragedy' if not promptly and correctly handled.

Brockton's Mayor Robert Sullivan has expressed his preference for a "more collaborative solution" to the school's issues, opposing the idea of using the Guard in an educational setting. The situation at Brockton High School has seen teachers and students calling for change, underlining the urgency with reports of escalating student-on-student fights and other forms of unrest, often posted on social media. A safety audit funded by the state has been announced in a move to further address the school's safety concerns.

As for the role of the National Guard, should they be deployed, Rodrigues envisions them covering duties such as substitute teaching and hallway monitoring—not typical military operations. "The national guard should be in there making sure there’s bodies in there,” he added, highlighting the need for increased presence within the school corridors. In response, the Massachusetts Governor Maura Healy's office, while in talks with Brockton officials, emphasized their commitment to safe educational environments. “The Healey-Driscoll administration is regularly engaging with Brockton Public Schools leadership through DESE to review the needs facing the district and to understand how the state can support the high school and greater Brockton community,” stated a spokesperson from the Executive Office of Education to Boston 25 News.