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Police 'High Five Friday' Program Ends Amid Backlash

Image: Police 'High Five Friday' Program Ends Amid Backlash

(AP Photo/Rick Egan)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 Feb 2017 03:19 PM

A police department in Massachusetts has stopped a program at an elementary school called "High Five Friday" amid concerns some children might "respond negatively" to police presence.

The Northampton Police Department hosted the program starting in December with the approval of local school officials. Each week, the department would send out officers to give high-fives to students, welcoming them to school Friday mornings.

The department announced the program's end in a Saturday Facebook post.

Critics of the program at a school meeting were concerned "not all kids may feel comfortable with a police presence at the beginning of their school day." At a follow-up meeting, the chief and the school provost decided to stop the program, the post said.

"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.

The department stated it would look into other possible school outreach programs, and said, "We still accept high fives, low fives, and fist bumps. If you see any of us out there on the streets, feel free to ask for one!"

Kasper told WesternMassNews.com his department was disappointed about ending the program.

"The outcome of everything that has happened with this seemingly simple program is that there's real interesting issues here that have come up," Kasper said. "We want to explore those and talk about what we can do."

Reactions to the cancellation in the town were mixed.

"They just need more time," Rachael Carkhuff, a mother of three, said. "The more they saw them, the more comfortable they would get."

"I wouldn't want my kid to be scared to go to school every day. If kids are scared of the police officers, they should think of something else to do, maybe like some kind of presentation for the kids about what police officers do," Anisa Schardi, a mother of two, said in the Western Mass News report.

"This certainly is not the end of our youth engagement efforts," Kasper said in the Western Mass News report.

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A police department in Massachusetts has stopped a program at an elementary school called "High Five Friday" amid concerns some children might "respond negatively" to police presence.
police, school, Massachusetts, high five
341
2017-19-21
Tuesday, 21 Feb 2017 03:19 PM
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