A Dorchester high school principal was seriously injured last week in a violent attack that left the Boston Public Schools community reeling.
The unprovoked assault forced school officials to cancel classes for several days and to come up with a new plan that would allow for a safe return.
That return is taking place in two phases this week.
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What Happened at Henderson Inclusion School?
Patricia Lampron, principal of Dr. William Henderson K-12 Inclusion School in Dorchester, had to be taken to the hospital Wednesday after she was assaulted by a student, Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said.
Lampron and another staff member -- who has not been identified -- were attacked during dismissal Wednesday at the Henderson Upper Campus.
Boston police said an officer assigned to a safety post outside the school was alerted to a violent attack going on near Alicia Road and Croftland Avenue around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The officer found Lampron unconscious on the ground and being tended to by staff members.
She was taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital for treatment of serious but non-life threatening injuries, police said.
A police report obtained Thursday offered details into what allegedly happened, including that a school safety officer who helped restrain the student told police that Lampron was "completely knocked out" for at least four minutes, and that, when she came to, she didn't know where she was and cried uncontrollably.
The report said that the same school safety officer and other witnesses saw the principal being punched in the head and face repeatedly with a closed fist and having her hair pulled by the student. The student, a minor, has not been publicly identified.
The student admitted to hitting Lampron, according to the police report, and said that she got mad because school staff wouldn't stop following her and had asked her to leave the area of school.
Student Arrested, Charged
A 16-year-old girl was arrested at the scene of the attack Wednesday and appeared in Dorchester Juvenile Court Thursday on charges of assault and battery on a person over 60, assault and battery causing serious injury and two counts of assault and battery on a public employee.
A judge set bail at $5,000 and, upon release, ordered the student to remain under home confinement. She was told to stay away from the school and not contact the victim, Suffolk County prosecutors said. She was represented by attorney Brian Wiseman.
"My office has not hesitated to hold accountable those individuals who commit acts of workplace violence, including charging individuals accused of assaulting a professional athlete, a journalist, first responders and others. The juvenile charged with committing this violent attack will be prosecuted,” Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said.
Rollins added her office is working to make sure this "juvenile gets the treatment and services she clearly needs based on this violent, unprovoked attack.”
Sources told NBC10 Boston that the student charged in the attack was involved in another fight last month and that, since then, a parent has been making threats against the principal.
Asked about that Friday, Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said she couldn't speak to the specifics amid an ongoing investigation. Nor could she discuss what happened in the incident or any potential discipline for the student -- though the latter will follow the district's code of conduct.
Support for Principal Lampron
There has been an outpouring of support for Lampron in the days since she the attack. Former students have expressed sympathy and sent well wishes to the 61-year-old educator, as have public officials.
“Ms. Lampron, I hope you recover safely in the hospital. Just to let you know I’m very concerned and I’m worried about you. I hope you get better. I hope to see you soon," Angelina Bennett said Thursday.
"Unbelievable," Michael McCusker, who has a ninth-grader at Henderson, said of the attack. "She's such a nice person.
The news almost brought McCusker to tears: "Anything I ever asked her, she'd do in a minute. She's the nicest lady I ever met, really. She's really nice I don't know how anyone could have hurt her."
“I am so concerned and was immediately concerned for the welfare of Principal Lampron and the whole school community,” said Cassellius, the superintendent.
Mayor Kim Janey said, "my heart goes out to the principal, the staff and the families of those who are impacted by the violence."
Rollins, the district attorney, said in a statement, "Everyone deserves to be safe in their workplace, no matter what type of environment their workplace may be."
How is Principal Lampron Doing?
Lampron's family said she was released from the hospital Thursday but will need time and support to recover from her injuries at home.
Her injuries have not been disclosed, and there has been no mention of a timeline for her return to school.
Lampron's daughter, Mary Kate Lampron, posted a statement to her Facebook page about the violent attacked at school and seriously injured by a student.
"Anyone who knows her knows how passionate she is about this school, its students and the Henderson School community," the statement read. "Our primary concern is her health and safety...we expect a full investigation into the circumstances of the assault to assure the safety of all the students, staff and teachers in the Henderson School Community."
The statement ended with a message from Lampron herself.
"She wants everyone to know that there is NO place for violence in our schools."
When Will Henderson Inclusion School Reopen?
There were no classes on Thursday and Friday in the wake of the incident as Boston Public Schools officials worked on a plan for the safe return of students and staff, soliciting input from the community.
The school did open for counseling Friday and officials worked with nonprofits, including the YMCA, to provide families a place to bring their children.
Students will return to the classroom by grade on Monday and Tuesday, officials said Friday. Students in grades 2 to 6 will return on Monday, with students in grades 7 to 12 following Tuesday.
The new system Boston Public Schools is implementing includes crisis prevention training, more counselors and extra staff at arrival and dismissal.
"I am personally grateful for the entire staff who came to school on Thursday and convened to develop a plan so that we can ensure a sound safety plan, with clear steps so that students and parents can be sure we have taken every step to restore a positive learning environment," Cassellius said in a statement to the Henderson community about the plan.
It does not include putting police inside the school, which some were calling for, though city leaders are against it.
"Police do not make schools safer, there have been countless studies on it," Janey said.
She argued that the incident "underscores the importance of social workers in our schools and continued investments in social emotional learning as we recover from the pandemic."
School officials held a closed meeting with parents of K-12 students at the school Thursday night about the incident, where "tough feedback" was shared, Cassellius said.
"The tragic events of this week have shaken us all but you have shown incredible resilience and your care for the entire community has been remarkable," Cassellius said. "Thank you for being there for Principal Lampron and for supporting each other."