Home » Massachusetts high school pleads National Guard quell ‘shocking levels of chaos and violence’ among students

Massachusetts high school pleads National Guard quell ‘shocking levels of chaos and violence’ among students

by John Jefferson
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A group of Massachusetts educators are pleading for Gov. Maura Healey to deploy National Guard troops to Brockton High School to help quell what teachers described as “shocking levels of chaos and violence” among the students there, posing serious security concerns over the past several months. 

In a letter last week, four Brockton School Committee members – Joyce Asack, Tony Rodrigues, Claudio Gomes and Ana Oliver – asked that Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan request temporary National Guard support at Brockton High School from Healey to address “a disturbing increase in incidents related to violence, security concerns, and substance abuse.” 

“Recent events at Brockton High School have prompted us to seek immediate assistance to prevent a potential tragedy,” the letter, obtained by several local news outlets, read. “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 letter said instances of students wandering the halls, engaging in altercations and causing disruptions in classrooms “have become alarmingly frequent.” 

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“These incidents are not only undermining the learning environment but are also jeopardizing the integrity of the state-wide testing process,” roughly half of the committee wrote. “As concerned members of the school committee, we are reaching out to you with the hope that the City and State can provide assistance and support in addressing this urgent matter.”

The letter pointed to a recent spike in students leaving school grounds without permission, as well as trespassers on school property, citing “a lack of adequate staffing” at entrances and exits.”

“These situations not only put the students and staff at risk but also undermines the overall safety of our community,” the letter said.

“Recognizing the gravity of the situation, we are formally requesting that you reach out to Governor Healey and request the deployment of the National Guard to assist in restoring order, ensuring the safety of all individuals on the school premises, and implementing measures to address the root causes of the issues we are facing,” they wrote Thursday. “We understand the gravity of this request and the importance of collaboration between local and state authorities. The National Guard’s expertise in crisis management and community support can offer a vital temporary intervention, allowing for a comprehensive, long-term solution to be developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.”

The four committee members requested an expedited meeting to discuss the deployment of the National Guard to Brockton High School. 

Teachers who spoke with the Boston Herald described “shocking levels of chaos and violence” at Brockton High School, which serves nearly 4,000 students. 

The Brockton Enterprise first reported about the letter on Saturday. In a statement to the outlet, Sullivan said he opposed the use of the National Guard at Massachusetts’ largest high school, but reportedly did not explain why. The mayor said he forwarded the request to Healey, who has authority to deploy the National Guard in times of emergency. 

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Last August, Healey notably deployed 250 National Guard members to hotels providing emergency shelter for migrants that did not have a contracted service provider.

The Healey administration is “aware of concerns raised about Brockton High School and are in touch with local officials,” Karissa Hand, spokesperson for the governor, told the Boston Herald in a statement Sunday. “Our administration is committed to ensuring that schools are safe and supportive environments for students, educators and staff.” 

Fox News Digital reached out to Healey and Sullivan’s offices for comment on Monday but did not immediately hear back. 

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In a Facebook post Saturday, Brockton City Councilor At-Large Winthrop Farwell Jr. said he also opposed the use of the National Guard at the high school. 

“Our faithful teachers (at all levels of the system) have experienced violence, injury and disruptions for years. Now, suddenly, the Guard is the answer? I do NOT support this,” he wrote. “Soldiers in military field uniforms aren’t the answer. Convene a committee of classroom teachers (as opposed to administrators) and let that committee provide their input and recommendations on how to deal with the escalating problems in schools.” 

National Guard troops in Boston

“Classroom teachers are closest to the students. Select the independent-minded educators, not anyone who wants to ‘curry favor’ with the school administration. We have the talent to create a positive learning atmosphere if we listen to our teaching staff. They know, they care, they can guide as to success,” Farwell added.  

Asack, Gomes, Oliver and Rodrigues plan to hold a press conference at Brockton High School at 11:30 a.m. Monday regarding the matter, Boston 25 News reported. 

The letter comes after video of a violent fight at Brockton High School spread online last month. 

“It has become very unsafe being at the school teaching and the students as well,” Nora Acevedo, a teacher present, told Boston 25 News. “I was the only one in the cafeteria at the moment. There were supposed to be two teachers, but the other supervisor was absent. A fight broke out with girls wandering the hallways. They came in to attack another girl in the cafeteria.” 

Last May, three students were hospitalized, and five students were arrested in connection to a stabbing attack that unfolded outside Brockton High School. 

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