I make all the none-home deliveries of the Leader Herald every Wednesday to a wide variety of locations throughout the city.
My Wednesday odyssey takes me everywhere in this city – and I go into and out of dozens of stores, and public places, where the newspaper is distributed.
Since 2019, I delivered the Leader to Everett High School each week of the school year with the exception of vacation weeks and the summer, when high school is not in session.
Each time I delivered the papers, the front doors have never been open. They are locked. Every time I arrive it is this way – locked.
I must press the door buzzer to gain entrance.
I have written about the COVID-19 inspired violent outbursts plaguing Everett High – and most other urban high schools throughout the state. I have watched the videos of students fighting outside the high school. They are a disturbing fact of reality in the new world order we live in.
However I have never witnessed violence during my deliveries to the high school or at sporting events, or musical events, or graduations.
In addition, I notice the police presence at the high school nearly each time I deliver.
I find this reassuring.
It is a friendly, important, law and order presence. The police presence in its present form – with dedicated Everett cops who understand kids patrolling the school and keeping order in the school for the most part – or responding to fights when necessary.
What to do to increase safety measures and give parents and high school kids made worried by the possibility of violence is simple.
However, the school committee membership would likely be unwilling to spend the money, as the school committee membership seems more attuned to carrying out the wishes of the mayor than of educators and the police.
What needs to be done?
Chairwoman Jeannie Cristiano asked about the efficacy of 2 more police officers at the school. The chief naturally balked. He doesn’t have enough officers to patrol the city as it is.
Cristiano was heading in the right direction. I’d urge her to go overboard.
When there is an emergency, emergency measures are needed.
This recent lockdown and the outpouring of fear it has generated cannot be dismissed or minimized.
Hire, pay for, rent, at least a dozen more thoughtful and assertive police officers to patrol the entire premises of the high school all the time no matter the cost until the end of the year.
Make Everett High School the example by which all other high schools eradicate violence, deal with anger, promoting knowledge about the kids and the kids about the police instead of overreach, arrests and getting kids involved with the failing juvenile justice system.
You want to stop a maniac from bringing a gun into the high school and shooting, well, that takes vigilance and modern thought about how to best protect our kids as well as our society.
The superintendent can’t do this alone. She faces a school committee seemingly more interested in doing the mayor’s bidding than being effective for the kids.
She must stand up and be counted. The police chief, who knows this stuff inside and out must do the same – and the chair, well, she needs to lead the school committee to a better place than it finds itself in trying to do the mayor’s bidding – and besides, the mayor wasn’t there, again – at perhaps the most important meeting I can recall taking place in years.
Whether or not the superintendent is secretary to the school committee is ridiculous business compared with the safety of the children.
What school committee member does what with the budget just doesn’t matter. How committees are made up – who cares? What the mayor wants is irrelevant, especially if he doesn’t have the time or the interest to attend the meetings.
Safety – reasonable protections – a dramatically increased police presence with officers who understand the mission with kids in the modern world, this is what is necessary.
Put up $1 million of the casino money and make the high school the safest place in this city – not with uniformed police officers waving batons and guns as if they are riot enforcers. Rather, use the police to do what they do best with kids – get to know them, get to know what they are thinking, get the kids to trust them, and everything, or nearly everything about violence gets headed off at the pass.
Make Everett High School the safest school in the state. To do anything less is, frankly, irresponsible.