A dozen guns have been found in Boston schools this year, brought in by students.
It’s an issue that a local grassroots group is very concerned about, and one that the group feels merits action by school officials and Mayor Michelle Wu, especially in light of the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
“What we’re asking for is a specific plan,” the Rev. David Searles, a member of Boston SOS, told Boston.com in a recent phone interview.
Searles noted that 12 guns have been brought into Boston schools this year, a number confirmed by WBUR during a recent interview with Mayor Michelle Wu. These include:
- A student was held without bail for bringing a gun to Charlestown High School in late May.
- A student allegedly brought a BB gun into a Mattapan elementary-middle school in mid-May.
- A student was arrested after allegedly bringing a gun to the Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury in March.
“As a BPS mom, it’s deeply personal for me that each and every one of our children will be safe and feel supported in our schools, on their commutes to school, and throughout our neighborhoods,” Wu said in a statement to Boston.com. “We are partnering with public safety and health agencies, the state, and community organizations on incident response time and community support systems. Together with our newly launched summer safety plan, the City is taking a wraparound approach to ensure every child has the nurturing environment they need and deserve.”
Searles said that the group has approached Wu, Boston School Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, and some city council members, but they feel as though the response doesn’t meet their concerns.
The group is frustrated, Searles said, and is concerned that there isn’t a plan to deal with the incidents. Wu’s office has stressed the need for mental healthcare, which Searles said he supports. But he said there should be more initiatives added.
“I think there’s a three-prong approach,” Searles said. “One is metal detectors. Another is police back in school.”
He also said he supports “early intervention” with students.
In the segment with WBUR, Wu addressed the “very few instances where we’ve seen firearms in the Boston Public Schools.”
“Often when I talk to school staff these incidents have been de-escalated very quickly,” Wu said. “That in fact it was a young person who either was new to that school or felt that they might be worried or endangered on the commute to and from school, potentially through gang territory, or other experiences on our public transportation system, or out and about in the city, rather than the school environment in that particular community was unsafe.”
Wu noted that social workers are being added to every Boston school, and “we’re investing in social emotional supports.”
“That is very important to make sure that there are trusted adults,” she said. “That is the number one thing that we can do in our schools.”
The second most important is making streets safe so that students don’t feel threatened wherever they need to go.
“They know what is right and wrong, they know the risks that they are taking on by choosing to carry that weapon and it is heartbreaking as a mom to think that any of our young people are making that decision knowing full well what it means,” she said. “And I take responsibility and urgency in making sure that we can ease that decision because no child should ever have to think that way.”
In a press release from Boston SOS, the group said it’s concerned with Wu’s response on WBUR.
“She doesn’t give us is specific plan to keep guns out of school,” a press release said. “Our only conclusion is that Mayor Wu has no plan to keep guns out of schools or has any intention of developing a plan.”
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