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Jean McGuire recovering after attack

Incident shocks Roxbury neighbors

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Jean McGuire recovering after attack
Jean McGuire Banner file photo

In an incident that has shocked her Roxbury neighbors, former METCO director and School Committee member Jean McGuire, 91, was stabbed multiple times last Tuesday evening while walking her dog in Franklin Park. She is currently hospitalized in stable condition and is expected to recover.

Police so far have no suspects in the incident.

McGuire’s sister, Jeriline Brady Mcginnis, told the Boston Globe that McGuire said she was attacked from behind by a man who pushed her to the ground, then groped her. She fought back and was stabbed.

McGuire has received an outpouring of support from community residents. Speaking through a family spokesperson, McGuire released a statement.

“We as a community can never forget that we need to stand together and continue working to empower our children through learning,” the statement read in part. “We are at our best as a people when it’s about ‘we,’ not ‘me.’ I love you all and I will see you soon.”

In the same statement, McGuire’s family members expressed gratitude for the large show of community support.

“The family of Jean McGuire would like to thank all of the doctors and dedicated healthcare workers who are assisting in her recovery,” their statement read. “We greatly appreciate the outpouring of love and support that Jean has received from people in the Greater Boston area, across Massachusetts, and around the world.”

METCO’s current director, Milly Arbaje-Thomas, said in a statement that she was saddened by the news of the Oct. 11 attack on McGuire.

“Could her attacker have known that this fierce 91-year-old woman embodies the heart of commitment and initiative that made it possible for tens of thousands of children from Boston’s Black and brown neighborhoods to have access to high-quality education and move on to better lives?” she said in her statement. “Could that person have known that she dedicated her life to working for our community’s children, and all the people who struggle every day to gain access to the escalator of economic opportunity?”

A changing park?

The stabbing has some Roxbury residents questioning whether the recently increased services for people suffering from mental health issues and addiction at the Shattuck Hospital is making Franklin Park more unsafe.

“I think there’s a direct link,” said Garrison Trotter Neighborhood Association President Louis Elisa. “We know that this was somebody with mental health issues.”

Last year, city officials constructed 30 temporary housing units on a parking lot at the Shattuck and the state increased drug treatment services provided at the Shattuck. Since then, abutters who walk through the park have noticed an increase in what they say is addiction-related behavior in the park, including discarded needles, public sales and consumption of drugs, and tents and encampments in the wooded areas of the park.

A Jamaica Plain-based activist created a heat map of needle clean-ups in the park, showing a marked increase after the temporary housing and increased treatment services were moved to the park last December.

“Now we have a situation that literally could have led to a death,” said District 7 City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, who considers McGuire a family friend. “She’s been walking through the park for decades. She’s invested in this community and nurtured this community. This is a betrayal.”

Police last week appealed to community members for any information about the attacker. McGuire’s family members said she managed to kick the man during the attack and that her dog, a Weimaraner, helped to drive him away.

Franklin Park, Jean McGuire, Shattuck