A fight between a group of middle school girls at Boston Latin Academy took place as city councilors have been debating whether police officers and metal detectors need to be in place in all of Boston's public schools.
Four members of the Boston City Council have sent a letter to Superintendent Mary Skipper following Monday's brawl, in which a student was taken to a hospital after being attacked with a pair of scissors.
"We really need to come together and address this before something really bad happens," said City Councilor Erin Murphy.
Boston City Council President Ed Flynn, City Councilor Michael Flaherty and City Councilor Frank Baker joined Murphy in signing Monday's letter. The same four councilors sent an open letter to Mayor Michelle Wu earlier this month, making the same calls for police officers and metal detectors.
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They argue there should be "no question" that metal detectors be returned to all schools, and that school police should be reinstated in school buildings. They say violent incidents are becoming commonplace after police were taken out of schools in 2021.
"If you're in your math class and you hear a fight like you saw on that video in the hallway," said Murphy, "you don't feel safe, you have to feel stressed, there's no learning going on."
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But some, including City Councilors Julia Mejia and Kendra Lara, say police and metal detectors have already been tried.
"What haven't we tried?" asked Lara. "What is the direct intervention, what are the wrap-around services that are focused on students and the family, how are we increasing youth programming, how are we increasing access to mental health, after school sports?"
Lara and Mejia are part of the effort pushing back on what they consider punitive approaches to school safety, like police and metal detectors.
"If you're really serious about addressing the root causes, then we're going to need to do the little things we know can make a big impact," said Mejia. "That's what this time requires, for us to think outside the box and be a little bit more innovative in this approach."
Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson also weighed in with a statement to NBC10 Boston.
"I know when something like this happens, it puts pressure on those of us who seek a more holistic, proactive set of safety and security policies and procedures in our schools. To those who would use such an event to say that we need armed police in our schools, I would remind them that we HAD armed police in our schools, and the rates of such acts of violence at that time were not less than they are now. The best police could do in such an instance is to react to the fight," she wrote.
"The safest schools are NOT those that are the most policed. Rather, they are those with resources. If there was a fight, let's say at Brookline High School, or Newton North High School, would the same question even be put to a politico in those towns?" the statement continued.
In response to the letter asking Wu for officers and metal detectors in schools, the group Massachusetts Advocates for Children referred to the proposals as "ineffective intervention strategies that will only further criminalize and traumatize Black and Brown Children."
NBC10 Boston reached out to Boston Public Schools Tuesday to find out what their intentions are when it comes to school safety, but so far, there has been no response.
A city council hearing on this issue will take place in two weeks.
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