State DESE to conduct safety, security audit of all Brockton schools – Enterprise News

BROCKTON – The state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will conduct a safety audit for all Brockton Public Schools including Brockton High, Mayor Robert Sullivan said at a meeting on Feb. 21.

The announcement comes as schools across the district are struggling with physical violence, drug use and other security and safety issues, and four school committee members are calling for the U.S. National Guard to step in.

“We are committed to making sure our schools provide safe and supportive environments for all students, educators, and staff. The Healey-Driscoll administration is regularly engaging with Brockton Public Schools leadership through DESE to review the needs facing the district and to understand how the state can support the high school and greater Brockton community,” said Delaney Corcoran, a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Education.

The audit will investigate the current safety protocols within each school to determine what’s working effectively and what needs to be improved. DESE will then make recommendations based on each school’s needs – from hiring more security specialists to bullying intervention plans.

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According to Sullivan, the safety audit will be fully funded by DESE.

“DESE has been a wonderful partner with the district,” Sullivan said at the school committee meeting. “That’s a lot of money and we’re very, very thankful for that.”

Unrest in schools, calls for National Guard

Teachers from schools all around Brockton – from elementary schools to BHS – have said publicly that students are causing dangerous fights in hallways, smoking and vaping in classrooms, physically abusing teachers and leaving the building freely.

Four Brockton School Committee members made national headlines after requesting National Guard soldiers be deployed in Brockton High School to “prevent a potential tragedy.”

The committee members — Joyce Asack, Tony Rodrigues, Claudio Gomes and Ana Oliver — sent a letter to Sullivan formally requesting that he ask Gov. Healey to deploy Massachusetts National Guard soldiers to the high school “to assist in restoring order, ensuring the safety of all individuals on the school premises, and implementing measures to address the root causes of the issues we are facing.”

Coverage of the situation at Brockton High School has appeared in the past few days on NewsNation and in the Washington Postthe New York Post, and the Seattle Times.

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Open Architects financial review

DESE is also assisting the school district to investigate its Fiscal Year 2023 budget deficit by sending a representative from data analysis company Open Architects to review BPS’s financial records from Fiscal Year 2023.

The district requested help from the state after Sullivan announced a $14.4 million budget overspending from the 2022-23 school year in August. TJ Plante, the Open Architects representative reviewing BPS’s fiscal records, said the deficit figure could likely rise to roughly $20 million.

DESE is fully funding Plante’s review of BPS’s budget, and details regarding the deficit have shocked school committee members in recent meetings.

“There’s just so much happening,” said Plante. “There are so many misbudgeted items.”