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Parents at Orchard Gardens School block traffic to protest needles in playground; vow weekly traffic jams until problem is solved

Parent protesting needles at Orchard Gardens School

Parents, teachers and community members blocked traffic at Melnea Cass Boulevard and Albany Street after school let out this afternoon to demand even more action from the city to get needles and drug supplies out of the school playground and field.

As students held signs on the sidewalks, the adults walked into traffic, stopping traffic and showing drivers their signs. A number honked in support; others sped off in frustration after getting through.

Girl with sign outside Orchard Gardens School
Teachers with signs outside Orchard Gardens School

Parents said whatever BPS and city public-health officials are doing to clean up the school grounds is not enough, not when the school is near the epicenter of Methadone Mile and the fields, with unlocked gates and holes cut in fences, provide an attractive place for addicts to shoot up, urinate and defecate.

They point to a student who got pricked by a needle last month as proof increased patrols of the fields and the presence of a box in which addicts can dispose of needles safely has simply not worked.

Walsh: Do something

In a chaotic gathering inside the school, during which one official from BPS headquarters alternated between telling parents they had no right to be there without a permit and bellowing at TV-station cameramen to get out immediately, parents and activists said they want BPS to erect an eight-foot fence around the school playground and field to keep out the addicts.

"This is not going to stop," Janina Rackard, whose daughter is a fifth grader at the school, said of the protests. She vowed to return every week to block traffic until the problem is fixed.

"For my child to tell me she doesn't feel safe in her own school, I'm done," she said.

BPS Chief of Staff Rob Consalvo and activist Domingos DaRosa discuss whether the city is doing enough about the needles:

Consalvo and DaRosa

On a quick tour of the playground and field - on a day when officials said they had cleaned it up - DaRosa found ample evidence of ongoing drug use, including baggies and a tube that had held sterile water in a safe-injection kit given to addicts:

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Comments

This is great civic action. Parents fighting for their kids with any tool they've got.

It's an obvious hazard. The city and state have known for quite some time.

Fix it.

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I support those folks 100%.

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Voting closed 99

So break the law to protest the law being broken, no wonder why the young are confused. Great examples.

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What laws are they breaking?

Cars don't own the roadways.

They are pedestrians using the roadways - nothing more.

I suggest you have a cup of coffee since the tea is in the harbor and Crispus Atticks is massively frowning on you.

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They are not just pedestrians using the roadways, just like someone sitting in their car intentionally blocking a crosswalk or your driveway while displaying a protest sign would not be just a driver using the roadway.

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See also: 1st Amendment freedom of assembly.

Notice how "seek redress" doesn't mention "only where convenient for people in cars" or "only not ever during rush hour" or "never in any roadway or anyplace inconvenient"?

Traffic, parking, and driving is not sacred - and not protected, either.

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1st it's Crispus Attucks. 2nd do some research and learn history, not subscribe to myth.

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Yeah, parents these days with their new-fangled protests!

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Voting closed 27

Anon, let me introduce you to the concept of civil disobedience.

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You choose what is the bigger problem? I'll wait. Yes, they are teaching their kids , drugs are bad and not safe. Apparently, if the city got on this issue yesterday, they wouldn't be protesting today. Common sense, nothing is being done fast enough!!

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So when there's a problem, you can do whatever you want in response as long as it's a smaller problem?

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... to seek redress.

You might want to look those words up since you seem to be having a big problem comprehending them.

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Yes you support them as long as you are not blocked trying to get somewhere important...like to pick up your own kids from school. Why not block the actual politicians cars from leaving the State House. No it's better to antagonize people just trying to live there lives

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So blame everyone but the users/litterbugs?

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Surely the deadbeat addicts would be happy to clean up after themselves if just asked nicely.

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So, perhaps, you can spare the "deadbeat" label during this festive holiday season? Then you can go back to being your judgy self in 2019.

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How cheerful would you be?

Maybe the addicts could spread some cheer by cleaning up after themselves.

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Calling addicts "deadbeats" is a simplistic dumbass take that leads no closer to a solution. Better for you?

Why are the needles on the playground in the first place? Because people are using and disposing of them there. So, why are they using and disposing of needles there? The kind of people who call addicts "deadbeats" are probably not open to possible solutions to that immediate problem, like safe injection sites or readily available safe sharps disposal. Calm your jerking knee and think about that for a bit, Waquoit.

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Because the fence isn't tall enough to keep them out.

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Because the fence isn't tall enough to keep them out.

No. You're missing the point. They don't have some predilection for schoolyards; they're not out to get kids with their dirty needles. They're using there because it's quiet and out of the way and not used at certain times of the day. That's what they care about. You want to solve the problem with a bigger fence? Might work. But they're not going to stop using because of a bigger fence; at most they will stop using there. If that's good enough for you, ok, but unless you have a better solution, don't whine when those needles show up somewhere else.

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Want to solve the problem? Stop coddling the addict!!! Stop handing out clean needle kits and places to shoot up! Attach the STIGMA back to addiction because guess what---it is BAD! Addiction is BAD! Drugs ARE BAD! And before you pull that crap on me, I have plenty of friends/family who have been addicted/died/sober because of drugs. We are all born with FREE WILL. So maybe just for once, they could maybe just use some of that judgement they had to start this process to maybe think about someone OTHER than themselves and take their needles and drugs OUT OF A GODDAMN playground!!!!!

I just can't take anymore of this standing up for the criminals, the junkies, the bad guys. What the hell is going on that we, the hardworking good guys, who obey the laws---get the shit end of the stick. Have to suffer. Have to DEFEND every goddamn move WE make!! Have to explain why WE feel this way. Why I don't think my kids elementary school or firetrucks should have NARCAN out the yingyang but can't have an EPIPEN or GLUCAGON???????

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And before you pull that crap on me, I have plenty of friends/family who have been addicted/died/sober because of drugs.

And before you pull that crap on ME, I do too. So do a lot of people. It's just that some of us outgrew the need to place blame on someone who doesn't have the power to change the situation.

You might give your caps lock and exclamation point a rest and think about the difference between blame and cause. Not all bad situations have a villain. Some do, but if you want to find a solution, you won't find it by blaming someone. Situations of addiction fall into both of these categories.

Addicted people are not the boss of anything. They are not driving the bus. That's what you don't understand. You can argue that everyone is "born with FREE WILL" if you want, that they could have made a decision when they were five years old that would have led to a different outcome, but to my mind, that's a completely irrelevant theological argument. In the here and now, the addict is not in control. So go ahead, rant about your aggrieved feelings if you want. I hope it makes you feel better. But if you want a solution, you are not going to get one by insisting that the addict make decisions and take actions that require them to be in control.

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So, you are saying the addict doesn't decide where to plant themselves to shoot up? They don't take that few seconds to think, "Hmmm I'm next to a police station-maybe I should move?" The "disease" would just make them sit there and shoot up because they are not in control? Doubt it. They have enough free will to make the decision to try and not get arrested or to steal from family or lie about pain right? But again. They are not in control.

How many more excuses are we going to make? Maybe the drug addict for once could think "Jeeze, I was a parent at one time. Maybe I shouldn't be shooting up on a slide that someones kid is using?" When does the child become more important than the drug addict? The hard working, law abiding citizen more important that the criminal? If this 8 foot wall can keep them out, then BUILD it. Hell, put barbed wire at the top too. These little kids don't deserve this crap. They did nothing wrong. When are we going to start to FIGHT for them???

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WE'VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR APPROACH THAT DOES NOT WORK. HASN'T WORKED. WON'T EVER WORK!

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The protest is not about the existence of junkies. It's about the existence of used junkie needles in a playground.

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You really haven't been reading this thread very closely, have you?

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Your rantings, no. You are trying to coöpt someone else's pain and need for your own political purposes. Shame on you.

parents and activists said they want BPS to erect an eight-foot fence around the school playground and field to keep out the addicts.

It is not helping the parents or the children to tell them that their problem can't be solved until someone else's is. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

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You are trying to coöpt someone else's pain and need for your own political purposes.

Your absolute bullshittery is only highlighted by your utterly twee use of "coöpt".

It is not helping the parents or the children to tell them that their problem can't be solved until someone else's is.

Indeed it would not be, had I done any such thing. Hey, didn't I just hear someone blowing hot air about someone else "coöpting"?

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Follow your own advice, you dope.

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As many addicts are functional, but we are talking people who shoot up in what is known as a place where children play and leave their hazardous waste behind. The latter deserve to be called bad things (and hopefully see who bad it is and, at a minimum, stop endangering kids.)

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So call them bad things if it makes you feel better. This will accomplish the following: making you feel better. And that's it.

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There have been numerous discussions on this website on varied subjects where certain classes of people are called bad things, and perhaps those that wrote it feel better afterwards, but even those I call out have underlying points. Does Kinopio feel better with his “drivers are evil” shtick? Sure, but conversely those who drive drunk should be called bad things, because if we don’t call out bad behavior, we are tacitly condoning it.

I support junkies getting the help they need, but I’m not going to say the only reason they leave needles lying around in schoolyards is because they are sick and we should be sympathetic. They should know better.

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Does Kinopio feel better with his “drivers are evil” shtick? Sure, but conversely those who drive drunk should be called bad things, because if we don’t call out bad behavior, we are tacitly condoning it.

What you appear to be saying, in a roundabout passive-voice way, is that calling drunk drivers bad things has a desirable impact on their behavior (you hope). I'm not so sure it would have the effect you want if calling them bad names was all that happened to them, but let's leave that aside for the moment. Granted that there's a range of problem drinking behavior, injectable drug users are a different kettle of fish. There is no level of social approval for anything relating to their use of drugs or their addictions, and they are already called every bad name there is. Do you really think you're going to shame them straight?

I support junkies getting the help they need, but I’m not going to say the only reason they leave needles lying around in schoolyards is because they are sick and we should be sympathetic.

OK, don't say that. I didn't say that either. Please come back when you've swept up that demolished strawman and have something relevant to say.

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And I don’t believe I was being passive aggressive about it.

As for your strawman argument, you did see what the article is about, right? I’ll give you a hint. The protest was done by students and their parents.

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There already is a sharps disposal bin at this schoolyard.

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There already is a sharps disposal bin in this schoolyard.

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So glad to see these parents stick up for their kids. No one should have to deal with these problems on their school campus.

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Thank you so nuch Adam for exposing this. Boston's 2 major newspapers should learn from you. And parents and kids, thank you for standing up. Whatever it takes to change this shit, do it!!

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The Herald has been covering this.

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Just wait until the drug opioid clinics open up in the South End. MA is well on its way to being a drug users paradise. Keep up the good work!

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Details please

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nobody does drugs in red states

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blame the Mayor for the inaction here.

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Dog poops in our parks. Needles in our school yards. World class. Srsly.

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I applaud the parents and kids who are leading the fight for the rights of children to be safe in playgrounds and schoolyards. The city leaders have no solutions to the growing skid row that is attracting hundreds of suburban addicts to the area. Combine this with level three sex offenders and shelter residents with a myriad of mental issues who used to be housed at the Long Island shelter and now have set up residence on the methadone mile creating a toxic and dangerous environment for families and people who work in the area.

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Suburban. None of these people are from here yet they use and abuse our city services and streets. Clean it the fuck up Massachusetts and New Hampshire. We're bearing the externalities of the lack of political will power to make controversial decisions.

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Support these people 100%. I might join them for the next one.

There's no way in hell I'd send my kid to that school. After one kid was pricked by a needle I'd pull them out immediately.

The city's response is awful. Seriously, a sharps box? If they think addicts give two shits about proper needle disposal then they truly have no idea what's going on.

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Blocking motorists who have absolutely nothing to do with the problem doesn't tackle the issue.

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Motorists kill more little kids around here than drug users do, so two birds with one stone.

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You're hear talking about it aren't you? It clearly did something.

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All it did was cause more traffic in an already hectic week. Yes, all the junkies looked at the traffic and thought they better not throw their needles in the schoolyard anymore. Pathetic....just as bad as when the BLM movement did a sit in on the expressway and cemented themselves into barriers.

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The point of the protest was not to ask addicts to stay away from the school but to demand the city - in the form of BPS, BPD and BPHC - do something about the problem.

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Here it is! I knew I'd find somebody in here who doesn't understand the function of a protest.

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It gets written up and brings awareness. Don't be so obtuse.

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https://www.cityofboston.gov/news/default.aspx?id=20186

So the city has program employees checking the area.

The argument from the parents that they want more checks during the day as it is a problem.

So before you get all judgemental (i.e. the addicts are responsible blah, blah, blah), perhaps you can know the full story?

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The addicts absolutely are the problem...

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There is a concrete solution. It’s sad that it comes to this, but since the junkies don’t respect the school, it has to be done.

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you don't respect yourself or anything else due to the addiction which is a disease.

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Force them into some kind of an institution. The kids are innocent in this.

Question. Do you have sympathy for drunk drivers, too? After all, addiction is a disease.

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Force them into some kind of an institution.

You gonna pay for it?

Yeah. Didn't think so.

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One (or both) of these things:

1) Safe injection sites

2) An international campaign to drive the poppy plant into extinction. Pretend it's any kind of animal. Hell, pretend it's a frickin' dodo. Humans had no problem wiping those off the earth with no guilt whatsoever. Surely, a plant should be no emotional obstacle.

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An international campaign to drive the poppy plant into extinction.

Easily accomplished, and then nobody will ever get addicted to drugs again.

And we all lived happily ever after.

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Never answered my question about those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism and their insistence on driving while drunk.

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They can pay for it themselves

Like Mexico's gonna pay for the wall?

Are you familiar with the phrase "shooting the horse that can't jump the hurdle"? All you get is a lot of dead horses.

NEXT!

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What is BPS supposed to do about the drug addicts at this school’s doorstep? I sympathize with the parents and students but I don’t see how the school system can be blamed for a situation beyond their control. The entire state’s addiction problem has been foisted upon the Methadone Mile and the school happens to be nearby.

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well, they could start with the concrete and easily accomplishable solution proposed by the parents, which is to build a BIG SOLID FENCE that only real determined druggies are going to bother climbing.

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That's what they're supposed to do.

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Are the politicians in Quincy that clueless watching the suffering that is being caused AT THEIR HANDS?! Shame on the legit fake ass phony liberal Mike Morrissey. Formerly being a state senator he has ALWAYS been against the reopening of the island and has ALWAYS been legit against opioid survivors. We know how the coward Morrissey has always been, and though he might get constituents on his side, we know he’ll burn in hell as well as his friend Koch.

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Put a toll going into Quincy, but Marty's as soft as baby shit!

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This story has no relation to Quincy.

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Quincy is doing everything it can to block the restoration of the bridge to Long Island. Do you need more info on how that ties into the Orchard Gardens issue?

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Was the daily parade of buses out to a harbor island really an efficient use of social services resources?

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I used to live right near this school and I feel so much for these parents and neighbors who deal with this every day. Sure, the newspapers come and do a week of reports on Methadone Mile, and the cops pick up extra rounds of the streets because of the spotlight. The next week, the reporters leave, the cops stop coming, and the addicts come back in like water seaping through cracks. I don't blame the addicts, the city has pushed them onto these few streets, they corral them into these neighborhoods on purpose. My neighbors and I have called the cops hundreds of times on people shooting up on our stoop, passed out in front of our cars, breaking in. Sometimes the cops arrive in 30 seconds, sometimes not at all. All they can do is tell the people to go. That's it, just go somewhere else but here. There is nowhere else for them to go except further into the neighborhoods and the school yards. What does the mayor do? move the addicts onto a different corner every few months, pretend to be taking action. You can't be on this corner, but go to this corner, there, I did something.

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