The end of a police program at schools in Northampton, Massachusetts, has received criticism from expected, and less expected, places.
For “High Five Friday,” Northampton cops came to elementary schools to greet students with high-fives. That ended after complaints that the police presence alarmed some students of color, or kids who had negative experiences with law enforcement.
Bill O’Reilly’s reaction on Fox News was not surprising.
“Why don’t you toughen up out there in Northampton?,” O’Reilly said. “If you didn’t have the cops, the place would be overrun.”
The decision also puzzled a liberal voice: Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg. He told Boston Herald Radio part of the problem is grown-ups who have their own issues with police.
“We ought to be getting that problem solved, rather than effecting the children who have the opportunity to build trust and see the police as the helpers in the community that they are,” Rosenberg said.
Northampton’s superintendent John Provost has said he’ll meet with Police Chief Jody Kasper next month to discuss a new way to forge relationships between students and police.
Provost also said in an e-mail on Thursday that he plans to have staff emphasize several points when classes resume after vacation on Monday. They include having respect for police officers and that students who either liked or didn’t like “High Five Fridays” are neither right nor wrong.