Classes canceled for second straight day after principal assaulted at Dorchester school

BOSTON — Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius spoke in a press conference Thursday afternoon announcing classes will be canceled again on Friday due to the assault on the principal.

Henderson School staff will be holding a public meeting Thursday night at 6 PM with families to discuss how to move forward with their kids.

Meanwhile Friday, Boston Public Schools have reached out to their nonprofit partners, the YMCA, and DCF, to host an abundance of activities and provide resources to students and their families to participate in during the day.

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Principal Tricia Lampron of the Dr. William K. Henderson K-12 Inclusion School was hospitalized after being assaulted by a student at the school’s Upper Campus, Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a message to families Wednesday. Another staff member was also assaulted.

Cassellius said the assault happened Wednesday afternoon during dismissal at the school on Croftland Ave in Dorchester. Principal Lampron was rushed to the hospital. Her daughter tells us Thursday morning that Lampron is home recovering.

In an interview Thursday, Mayor-elect Michelle Wu said, “You know, this is an incredibly horrific, tragic situation that’s happened and I’m reaching out to all the parties involved to keep following what’s happening there. It points to the need for us to really be investing in our young people, in our school systems, in the supports that are necessary all throughout the system. We need, particularly in this moment coming out of the pandemic, when there’s been such stress, anxiety, trauma on our families, to be putting more resources into social and emotional supports, into the wrap-around services that our schools should be providing.”

When asked if police should still be in schools, Wu responded, “No.”

Several parents told Boston 25 News that Lampron suffered the brunt of the attack and was knocked unconscious. Boston Police said that a 16-year-old female was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on a Person Over 60, Assault and Battery Causing Serious Injury, and two counts of Assault and Battery on a Public Employee.

“Many students, staff, parents and caregivers witnessed this incident. This incident is disturbing and completely unacceptable,” Cassellius wrote Wednesday. “We want to be clear: Violence of any kind is not tolerated and will not be tolerated in the Boston Public Schools.”

As a result, school was canceled on the Upper Campus for Thursday, November 4. The Lower Campus will remain open. That decision was made, “for the utmost caution and to allow for time to further plan with the staff.” Staff members will be onsite to plan how to support students when school reopens Friday.

“On Friday when students return to campus, members of our Safety Team, our BPS Crisis Team, and other support personnel will be available at the Henderson Upper Campus to support students and staff for as long as needed to restore the stability of the learning environment,” Cassellius announced.

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Parents said recent threats made toward staff members and a lockdown at the school are adding to safety concerns.

“She’s been crying for help at that school and it has fell on deaf ears,” said Michelle Mullaly, whose daughter has special needs. “I need to feel secure in sending my child to school. I don’t feel as if she is safe in that building.”

When asked if this was a trend being seen at this school or others, Mayor Janey said “No, I don’t think we are seeing a trend. I think we need to continue to do everything possible to ensure that we are addressing trauma, which is often the root cause of violence in our schools, to make sure that students and families who are in need of support and intervention get the resources that they need as well.”

Any and all students involved in the violent attack will face discipline from BPS as well as from law enforcement, the Director of Lower Campus, Amy Gailunas, wrote following the incident.

“This violent behavior will not be tolerated. The health, safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority at Boston Public Schools,” Cassellius wrote Wednesday. “I am personally involved and am ensuring we are taking immediate and swift action.”

Earlier Thursday, acting Mayor Kim Janey said “It is really concerning that our school staff cannot come to school and be safe. We are doing everything to support our school staff, particularly the principal, the teachers, the students who witnessed this violence. We are not tolerating any violence in our schools. We need to make sure that our students, that our school staff can be in school and be in school safely. So, it’s really disappointing and deeply concerning to hear of this violent attack against the school leader.”

Mayor Janey was asked about the presence of police at Henderson school and said, “I don’t believe that this school had school police to begin with. For us, the issue is really making sure that were doing everything to support our teachers, all of the school staff, our families and the students in terms of the immediate resources that they need to process what happened, to heal from what happened, and to make sure that we are putting in place whatever support is need to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

Boston Teacher’s Union Executive Vice President Erik Berg told Boston 25 News, “Our thoughts are with Principal Lampron and the other staff member who was injured. We support the plan to deploy additional counseling services to the Henderson and will continue to advocate for more counseling staff across all of our schools on a day-to-day basis. We are in active dialogue with the Henderson School community regarding both the incident and the response. While this specific incident remains under investigation, it is important to affirm that educators, parents, students, administrators, and the community are in strong agreement that all schools must be safe places to learn and to teach.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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