From WILX: No more high-fives to police officers at schools in Northampton, Massachusetts on Friday mornings. The police department has stopped its ‘High Five Friday’ program after complaints.
The idea for the program came after police in Northampton visited a law enforcement conference in San Diego where “High Five Fridays” were done as a way for the department to engage with young people.
Uniformed officers in Northampton traveled to the city’s four elementary schools each Friday to welcome children to school for the day. The program ran for two months before it was halted. Police Chief Jody Kasper says there were complaints from residents concerned about how a weekly police presence might impact children of color, or undocumented children in a negative way. The chief decided to just cancel ‘High Five Fridays’ altogether.
Some residents disagree with the decision. “It’s very important to take care of the kids’ emotions and be sensitive towards it, but I think that stopping it abruptly was not the best way to go forward,” Lisa Maharjan of Northampton said. Northampton police say they will still give out high fives and fist bumps to anyone on the street who asks for one.