Police department halts high five program with students after parent concerns

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — Students in Northampton, Massachusetts, used to begin Friday mornings with high fives and fist bumps from local police officers, but because of concerns from parents that program has been halted.

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The "High Five Friday" program aimed to bring uniformed police officers to the city's elementary schools on Fridays to welcome students to school. The idea for the program began after a law enforcement conference in San Diego, in which High Five Fridays were promoted as a way for officers to engage with young people, the Northampton Police Department wrote in a Facebook post.

Northampton police said they received a lot of support for the program from the public, but there were also concerns.

During a school committee meeting, concerns were raised that not all children would feel comfortable with a police presence at the beginning of the school day.

"Others questioned the long-term impacts of the program and wondered if it was truly valuable," the department wrote in a post.

After the meeting, police were asked to pause the program, and they did.

Police attended a follow-up meeting with members of the public to discuss High Five Friday again. Concerns were shared that some students "might respond negatively to a group of uniformed officers at their school."

"People were specifically concerned about kids of color, undocumented children or any children who may have had negative experiences with the police," the post said.

Northampton police made the decision to end the program after that meeting.

In the Facebook post, Northampton police said it will continue to explore ways to connect more with young people and will still accept high fives and fist bumps from anyone who asks an officer on the street.

 

We are aware that there is an article circulating through social media related to NPD’s High Five Friday program. There...

Posted by Northampton Police Department on Saturday, February 18, 2017