A prominent Boston educator is recovering from stab wounds after she fought off an attacker in a public park Tuesday.
Reports show Jean McGuire was walking her dog in Franklin Park in Roxbury when she was stabbed multiple times by an unidentified assailant. McGuire also believes that it was an attempted rape.
The 91-year-old was the first Black woman on the Boston School Committee and started a program to support children integrating schools.
“She’s such a fighter, but whoever did this, they actually hurt a lot of people,” said Jeriline Brady-McGinnis, a friend and neighbor of McGuire. “She’s a well-loved woman, a well-cared-for woman, a community that loves her, a METCO program that she invented, that she built from nothing.”
McGuire was the executive director of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity Inc. for 43 years. The state-funded program allows students to attend public schools outside their communities to expand their opportunities and increase racial diversity. She became the METCO director in 1973, and was elected to the School Committee in 1981.
“Dr. McGuire is a pioneer of the METCO program and an educational leader in Boston. She has been a civil rights activist for over sixty years and an individual who has sacrificed for and given so much of herself to the city of Boston,” reads a statement from the METCO Directors Association. “She is well-known and beloved by the entire community. As an association, we pray for her continued recovery.”
Brady-McGinnis said McGuire was attacked from behind and stabbed around three times just before 8:30 p.m. The victim’s friend said the man also groped the elderly woman, and she believes he intended to sexually assault her.
“He knocked her down, and she started fighting, and he was kicking her and punching her and hitting her, and she kicked him between his legs,” Brady-McGinnis said.
The attacker ran off, and McGuire’s dog, Bailey, chased him, she said.
“The only animal in that park at the time was that man,” said Brady-McGinnis.
Authorities combed the area, but they have not yet identified a suspect. McGuire is reportedly in stable condition.
Suffolk County district attorney Kevin Hayden told WCVD he visited the education trailblazer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
“Ms. McGuire is as spunky and as vibrant as ever and is going to be just fine, praise the Lord. When I walked into the room, she said, ‘Oh, look at you all grown up,’ ” said Hayden.