City schools are taking aim at juvenile delinquency by hiring 18 “specialists” in a new program being slammed by some conservatives and the BPS as an effort to “save lives.”
The role of “community engagement specialists and planners” would be to ensure that students are safe online, at MBTA stations and at other hotspots after school.
“I’m open to anything. The kids are going crazy, but why not put the police in there to build relationships? ” The city councilor, Mr. Frank Baker, said on Friday, adding that the police should take an “oath” so that they know how to do their job.
“This is off-the-cuff and made behind the scenes,” said Rev. Eugene Rivers, who has also been advocating a tougher approach to combating youth crime. “We need the feds to meet with community groups to stop violence.”
The city’s education attorneys said at hearings this week that the school’s inspection centers could take a “disturbing” step backwards. Instead, they are calling on the district to improve its core education and after-school programs.
“We know who will be targeted,” said Edith Bazile, a retired BPS teacher who now heads Black Advocates for Educational Excellence. “These jobs reinforce stereotypes of Black men as violent, dangerous. It will stalk their social media and follow them as if they were on a program.”
Samuel DePina, the deputy chief of operations, made it clear that the goal is “to save lives.”
If created, community liaison coordinators and professionals would work 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Office of Safety Services, collaborating with employees in other regional departments and partners outside the region, such as the Boston Police and the Boston Medical Center, according to the general public. was shared during a community meeting last week.
BPS did not provide a detailed job description of the jobs at the Herald’s request because “they are not yet complete and will continue to be modified, based on community feedback,” district spokesman Max Baker said Friday night.
DePina said the work came out of internal discussions about creating safe learning spaces where students are kept “out of harm’s way when it comes to violence, threats of violence, violence and bullying.”
District officials believe there is a lack of support for students who need extra help, DePina said. The planned positions will be filling that gap as they would participate in community activities outside of school and visit homes for needy families, he said.
Although law enforcement officers in the city say that crime in the city is decreasing, there has been an increase in young people getting into trouble.
Juvenile arrests are up 80% this year, and 21 juveniles have been arrested for gun violence since the beginning of last year, according to information shared by Boston Regional Intelligence Center senior investigator Shea Kelly during a City Council hearing on gun violence earlier this month. . The number of minors arrested with a recovered gun has risen from 27 in 2019 to 40 in 2020, to 46 in 2021 and to 84 this year.
“What we’re finding right now is that young people are unfortunately in a country where they’re out of the epidemic, and there’s a lot of violence in our community where people are getting lost,” DePina added.
Those employed at the positions would receive training on de-escalation, bullying and equity, the basics of recovery, and CPR, said Neva Coakley-Grice, the district’s chief of security.
Mayor Michelle Wu on Friday said there have been “horrendous and consistent” cases of minors falling into “public safety issues.” The mayor said that the positions being planned are in line with the youth team that he launched last month, which is made up of various city workers to deal with violence and injuries among young people.
Joe Dwinell supported