On Friday, April 27, a student found a .45-caliber bullet in the toilet at Condon K-8 school. A few days later on Tuesday, May 3, a plastic bag containing many bullets was found at Boston Latin Academy’s loading dock.
The incident at the Condon school, located in South Boston, resulted in a police search of the area. Their search found only a few ceiling tiles that had been moved out of place, but no other evidence of firearms or bullets on school grounds.
However, the police report indicates that Principal Robert Chisholm was asked if he would like a K-9 to search the entire building, but he declined. This resulted in concerns for students’ safety on their school campus, which one teacher spoke out against, coming in defense of Condon’s principal.
Teacher Jermain Corbin, who also has two daughters attending Condon where he teaches eighth grade Civics, claims he never felt any fear for himself or his children amidst the incident. Corbin told WCVB Boston that he is “100 percent confident that the principal, the administration and the staff did everything that was necessary to ensure the safety and security of the staff as well as the students.”
Yet, an investigation is still being suggested by local Boston officials. City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty talked of his “outrage” at the principal for not immediately accepting the sweep and search of the school campus. Similarly, District Two City Councilor Ed Flynn showed his disapproval saying: “Public safety is critical. We have to take every situation very seriously. Nothing is insignificant. Everything has to be investigated…I just thought that that was sort of a complete and utter failure of the principal to keep children and faculty safe.” Both officials said the incident was made more frightening after flyers with Nazi propaganda were distributed the day before.
Following this incident was the bag of bullets found at Boston Latin Academy, where the Boston Police Department conducted a full sweep and found no other concerning items.
The Boston Globe spoke to a seventh grader at the school, named James, who spoke on his feelings on the incident:
“When I got out of the school around like 1:50-ish, I seen a cop outside, but I didn’t think much of it because they didn’t inform us that they found anything.” James still said he felt comfortable on campus and was not concerned for his personal safety. However, others feel differently.
A mother of a student of Boston Latin Academy spoke out about her discomfort sending her child back to school after the multiple instances of violence and potential for violence in the Boston Public School system. The mother, Jolise Seide, said she was running late to pick up her son when he called telling her of the police presence on the school grounds, that the students must leave, and to tell her that he was scared and didn't feel safe.
Seide expressed her outrage saying: “The one place that I’m thinking my child’s going to be safe, he’s not safe…We’re not talking about one bullet. We’re talking about a bag of bullets! I refuse to send my baby back. I demand answers.”
Parents and Boston officials call for the need for safety and security in the school system, citing the disturbing nature of these incidents in an institution for learning. A safe haven for education is too often turned into a “war zone,” as parent Jolise Seide puts it.