Brockton, Massachusetts, school board members call on National Guard to quell violence | #schoolsaftey

(NewsNation) — Officials in a Boston-area school district say violence has reached a breaking point and are calling on the state’s National Guard to calm the chaos they say is taking over classrooms.

Four Brockton School Committee members have called on the Massachusetts National Guard to help, asking it provide security in school buildings. The committee members say teachers have been making tearful pleas for months.

“Over the past few months, our high school has experienced a disturbing increase in incidents related
to violence, security concerns and substance abuse. The situation has reached a critical point. More
recently, we had an alarming 35 teachers absent, underscoring the severity of the challenges we are
facing,” the committee members wrote in a letter to Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan.

Officials say 11 students were just arrested and criminally charged after a fight broke out at Brockton High School near Boston.

Committee Member Claudio Gomes explained that school staff and students need more support and need to have a safe environment to teach and learn.

“I know that the first thought that comes to mind when you hear National Guard is uniforms and arms, and that’s not the case. They’re people like us, they’re educated, they’re trained, and we just need their assistance right now,” Gomes told local news station WJAR.

He continued, “We need the hands, and they’ll provide it. So, why not ask for assistance?”

But not everyone in Brockton agrees with asking the National Guard to step in.

In a statement, Sullivan said National Guard members are not the answer.

“We have had school police working effectively and safely at the high schools for decades,” Sullivan said in the statement.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey said the state was committed to ensuring schools are safe and supported environments.

Healey said she would connect with local leaders about the issue.

Brockton High School is not alone when it comes to a rise in bad behavior. Over the past decade, verbal abuse toward teachers has more than doubled, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Widespread disorder and mayhem in the classroom has increased by two-thirds, and disrespect for teachers other than verbal abuse is up more than 75%.

However, the percentage of physical fights has actually decreased from 2009 to 2019, according to a report from the center.

Brockton High School is the largest secondary education institution in Massachusetts. The former governor of the state activated the National Guard about three years ago to transport students to school safely because there weren’t enough bus drivers.

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