More than 40 percent of male high school students in Boston say they have carried a knife and more than 40 percent of all students believe it would be easy to get a gun, says a public health survey reported by the Boston Globe. One in five students has witnessed a shooting and does not feel safe in his or her neighborhood. The survey of more than 1,200 students in 18 public high schools in spring 2006 found that two-thirds of students had witnessed violence in the previous year and one-third had been involved in a fight themselves. Nearly 40 percent of male students had been assaulted, and 28 percent said they did not feel safe on the bus or train.
“This is a call to action for everyone who works with young people,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “The impact of such exposure to violence is trauma,” she said. “It can’t be treated lightly, and it can’t be dismissed.” In 2004, there were 64 homicides in Boston, the most since 1995, and up from 41 in 2003. There were 74 and 75 homicides in 2005 and 2006, and there have been 58 so far this year. The survey was done by the Harvard School of Public Health. Half of surveyed students were black, 28 percent Hispanic, 12 percent white, and 6 percent Asian.