Boston schools are considering arming school police officers with pepper spray in order to “add another layer of security to help protect students and staff.”
However, at least one city councilor has dismissed the idea as inappropriate.
“It’s absurd,” said Matt O’Malley, who serves as the vice chairman for the council’s education committee. “I don’t see any upside to outfitting them with pepper spray. It can be dangerous. If you deploy pepper spray in a cramped space like a classroom or a school hallway, it can be dangerous.”
Boston Public Schools are in the midst of a series of community meetings discussing the idea.
According to a statement from the district, the intent to develop a pepper spray policy has been “in the police officers’ contract for several years.”
The officers do not currently carry pepper spray, according to the district, because clear guidelines regarding training use protocols need to be developed first.
The issue is expected to go before the Boston School Committee later this year.
According to the web site for the Boston public schools, school police officers already carry pepper spray in several localities, including Quincy, Brockton, Braintree, Brookline, Revere and Somerville.
Boston school police, according to the district, have raised concerns “about their ability to fully confront a threat if it ever exists inside a school.”