Boston Public Schools officials announced a new safety plan for the Dr. William W. Henderson K-12 Inclusion School in Dorchester Friday after the principal was seriously injured in an attack by a student, prompting discussions in the community.
The school was closed for a second consecutive day Friday as the district worked on a plan for a safe return, soliciting input from the community. Students will return to the classroom by grade on Monday and Tuesday.
Principal Patricia Lampron and another, unidentified staff member were attacked by a student Wednesday at dismissal at the Henderson Upper Campus, authorities have said. Lampron was rendered unconscious. The 61-year-old was released from the hospital Thursday, her family said, noting she would "need time and support to recover from her injuries."
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The new system Boston Public Schools implemented in the wake of the attack includes crisis prevention training, more counselors and extra staff at arrival and dismissal.
"I am personally grateful for the entire staff who came to school on Thursday and convened to develop a plan so that we can ensure a sound safety plan, with clear steps so that students and parents can be sure we have taken every step to restore a positive learning environment," Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a statement to the Henderson community about the plan.
It does not include putting police inside the school, which some were calling for, though city leaders are against it.
"Police do not make schools safer, there have been countless studies on it," Boston Mayor Kim Janey said during a news conference Friday.
Students in grades 2 to 6 will return on Monday, with students in grades 7 to 12 following Tuesday. Lampron is recovering at home, and there is no timeline for when she will return.
Students already missed Thursday and Friday as staff consulted with teachers and families about how to safely reopen.
School officials held a closed meeting with parents of K-12 students at the school Thursday night about the incident, where "tough feedback" was shared, Cassellius said.
"The tragic events of this week have shaken us all but you have shown incredible resilience and your care for the entire community has been remarkable," Cassellius said. "Thank you for being there for Principal Lampron and for supporting each other."
"Boston Public Schools does not tolerate violence, we do not tolerate any of these kinds of acts. I am so concerned and was immediately concerned for the welfare of Principal Lampron and the whole school community," Cassellius said.
The superintendent said she hoped to have plans in place by midday Friday on how students and staff can safely return to school next week. The school opened for counseling Friday and officials worked with non-profits like the YMCA to provide families a place to bring their children.
Janey said, "my heart goes out to the principal, the staff and the families of those who are impacted by the violence."
She argued that the incident "underscores the importance of social workers in our schools and continued investments in social emotional learning as we recover from the pandemic."
A police report obtained Thursday offered new details into what happened, including that a school safety officer who helped restrain the student told police that Lampron was "completely knocked out" for at least four minutes, and that when she came to, she didn't know where she was and cried uncontrollably.
The report said that the same school safety officer and other witnesses saw the principal being punched and having her hair pulled by the student. The student, a minor, has not been publicly identified.
The student admitted to hitting Lampron, according to the police report, and said that she got mad because school staff wouldn't stop following her.
Sources told NBC10 Boston that the student charged in the attack was involved in another fight last month and that, since then, a parent has been making threats against the principal.
Asked about that, Cassellius said she couldn't speak to the specifics amid an ongoing investigation. Nor could she discuss what happened in the incident or any potential discipline for the student -- though the latter will follow the district's code of conduct.
Lampron and another unidentified staff member were attacked Wednesday at dismissal at the Henderson Upper Campus, authorities have said. A 16-year-old girl was arrested on scene and appeared in Dorchester Juvenile Court Thursday on charges of 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.
A judge set bail at $5,000 and, upon release, ordered the student to remain under home confinement. She was told to stay away from the school and not contact the victim, Suffolk County prosecutors said.
"Everyone deserves to be safe in their workplace, no matter what type of environment their workplace may be," District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement.
The school was closed on Thursday in the wake of the incident. Counselors were being made available for students and families on Friday, and nonprofits were being asked to make space for students who needed a place to be during the day, Cassellius said.
In a statement, Lampron's family discussed her passion for the school, its students and the community, and said they expect an investigation into what happened so students and staff at Henderson will remain safe.
"She wants everyone to know that there is NO place for violence in our schools," the statement said.