The president of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association is accusing the Boston Teachers Union of helping to demonize cops and even endanger their lives by supporting a Black Lives Matters program that calls for hiring more black teachers and school counselors instead of school cops.
But not all Boston cops agree with BPPA President Michael Leary's missive to BTU President Jessica Tang.
In a joint statement, the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, which represents black BPD officers, and the Boston branch of the NAACP stood with the teachers:
Police officers are not a monolithic group. There are many police officers who understand the ideals and values behind BLM and align themselves with BLM and other social justice organizations. We do not believe BLM is synonymous with “anti-police”. In fact, we believe that BLM is a reflection of the historical mistreatment of Black and brown people in this country, not only by law enforcement but also by a culture that has quietly undermined the value of the lives of Black and brown people.
We support the Boston Teachers Union and thank them for participating in the national Black Lives Matter in Schools week.
The Black Lives Matter at School program has four points:
- End “zero tolerance discipline”, and implement restorative justice in schools
- Hire more Black teachers in schools
- Mandate Black history and ethnic studies in K-12 curriculum
- Fund counselors not cops
In their statement, the NAACP and MAMLEO acknowledged that some MAMLEO members have a problem with the last point, but that "we refuse to focus solely on that point when the other three are so critically important to the success of all students in school, especially Black students."
Separately, the Boston City Council agreed yesterday to take another look at why Boston's public-safety departments are all overwhelmingly white in a city in which whites no longer make up the majority of residents.
Councilor Andrea Campbell called for a hearing to consider what can be done to increase the ranks of minority and women officers and commanders in BPD, BFD and Boston EMS - including possibly looking at taking Boston out of the state civil-service system.
At a council meeting yesterday, Campbell said that 67% of BPD officers were white in 2018 - the most recent year for which she could get records - 72% of city firefighters were white and 68% of EMS EMTs and paramedics were white. The ranks of commanders, she continued, are even whiter, she said. Boston as a whole is currently about 44% white, she said.
Campbell said she'd start by insisting such figures be made publicly available; she says she was shocked to find they were not and that she had to "track down various folks" across city government to compile the statistics.
She said she wants to look at getting the city to stop "appealing every law suit that literally makes it harder to hire women and people of color," such as suits over cocaine tests based on hair samples and making the departments more welcoming to women and people of color.
But, she continued, city officials need to deal with "the elephant in the room," which she said is the use of civil-service exams that give absolute priority to veterans, which can hurt the chances of women and people of color who did not serve in the military. She said one possibility would be to withdraw from the current civil-service system and create a new hiring process that would give additional points to veterans, similar to what she said State Police do.
Campbell's request for a hearing (5.5M PDF).