Brockton School Committee Members call for National Guard presence to assist with growing disciplinary concerns

Photo courtesy of MGN

Photo courtesy of MGN

By Matt Kugel

Student safety has been increasingly jeopardized at Brockton High School, a problem that some school committee members are hoping can be remedied with the help of the Massachusetts National Guard. 

The committee is made up of seven members, four of whom signed off on a recent letter to Gov. Maura Healey requesting support. They cited frequent fist fighting, rampant drug use, and verbal harassment of faculty as key issues that have grown too large to be handled without outside help. These safety issues are compounded by budget roadblocks and poor staff attendance, with WJAR reporting a recent school day with 35 teacher absences.

The request has proved controversial, receiving mixed responses from the Brockton Community. Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan, who is also the school committee’s chair, was one of several city officials who expressed opposition to the idea.

“National Guard soldiers are not the answer,” he told the Associated Press. Sullivan said he recently met with Brockton Police Chief Brenda Perez to discuss possible solutions, but with school adjourned this week for winter break, Perez won’t be updating the committee until next week, once class is back in session.

The four committee members campaigning for the invocation of the national guard held a short press conference this Monday to explain the proposed solution.

One of the members, Claudio Gomes, told attendees that he knows “that the first thought that comes to mind when you hear ‘National Guard’ is uniform and arms, and that’s not the case. They’re people like us, they’re educated, they’re trained,” per the Boston Globe. The members explained that they hope soldiers can fill roles like hall monitors or substitute teachers.