Although Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School has pulled together certain supplies for the Haverhill Police Department, the city’s police chief has asked the school to keep the material for when classes resume.
Whittier Tech collected the material after coming under fire from Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro for sending medical and safety supplies out of town. DeNaro said his department has since identified another supplier.
“We were able to secure supplies on our own…and recommending the school keep their products on hand should school reopen May 5,” DeNaro said.
DeNaro said Tuesday he was disappointed masks, gowns and other protective items were donated to a Lawrence-based, nonprofit health organization when Haverhill police and fire also have needs.
“I understand what she did and why she did it. Her heart was in the right place,” DeNaro said. However, the chief said Haverhill pays nearly three quarters of the school’s assessments and should have received a call first.
Whittier Tech Superintendent Maureen Lynch said it has been a common practice during this crisis for technical schools to donate to healthcare organizations.
“Whittier Tech would like to continue to work with our community. I am asking staff to go through our supplies and donate to the city. Of course, we want to help our community,” Lynch said.
Until the story appeared over WHAV, Lynch said, she hadn’t heard from DeNaro. The police chief said the reason is he was unaware the school had such a stockpile. Reviewing a photograph that appeared at WHAV.net, DeNaro said he saw gowns, gloves, sanitary wipes, hand sanitizer, masks and more. “All of these things are gold right now. The antiseptic wipes we use in patrol cars and fire vehicles. It’s almost impossible for us to get this stuff,” he said.
While the school was closed last week, administrators and educators collected 1,300 masks, more than 200 isolation gowns, more than 1,000 gloves and approximately 100 safety glasses for donation to Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. The supplies came from the school’s medical assisting, health assisting, dental assisting, auto body/collision repair, masonry, carpentry and science programs.