EHS struggling to control violence

Everett High School. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Blaming officials will not solve problem


Since Everett High School reopened for in-class live instruction we have been receiving disturbing reports, and sometimes graphic videos, of violent hand-to-hand combat on the stairs in front of EHS and inside the school.

We have also received a number of e-mails from concerned parents who express worry about the safety of their children and teachers who are finding it difficult to coexist in the school with the outbreaks of violence.

At first, the reflexive action is to blame someone, anyone in a position of responsibility for the violence at EHS.

Let’s blame the principal.

Let’s blame the police officer stationed there.

Let’s blame the teachers.

Let’s blame the superintendent of schools and the school committee.

This doesn’t work because all of them together aren’t responsible for what’s
going on in high schools these days with students who go out of control, who attack one another, who fight in the corridors or punch students, and occasionally, teachers.

The violence spree at EPS is not a one-off, as the British would say.

It is a situation being replicated at nearly every urban high school in the nation during a difficult fall for public school education.

Everett High School. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

In neighboring Chelsea, a substitute teacher with many years of teaching experience at the high school said she was calling it quits because of the violence.

“I don’t want to be around it. It’s dangerous,” Carol Dick told the Leader Herald.

Her lament can be heard from the spate of officials and administrators at the Chelsea High School trying to keep order in the brave new post-pandemic world of angry teenagers.

Teachers, parents, students, and administrators agree. The pandemic kept the kids cooped up for almost a year and a half and now that they are no longer cooped up, they are acting out.

“It is not so different from letting hungry animals out of a cage,” said an Everett school official.

He wasn’t serious about the metaphor, rather, he was intent on making his point understood.

“The kids suffocated having to be inside away from their friends and out of school. Now that they have their freedom back, it is a new world, and many of the kids are angry. Many more are having problems adjusting.

He pointed out teachers and the police can’t be everywhere all the time in a sprawling facility like EPS.

“We have less personnel to deal with more and more problems. Substitute teachers are hard to find. Longtime teachers are out in larger numbers than ever before. The violence is a real problem.

What to do?

“The best you can,” said the official.

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