Replacement for Northampton “High Five Friday” coming in April

Each elementary school's faculty and staff are reviewing which program option best suits their school community

Image Courtesy: Northampton Police Department

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Northampton schools may have ended “High Five Friday”, but something else may take its place. Northampton Public School Superintendent John Provost and Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper are working on a replacement for a controversial program they ended last month.

On “High Five Friday”, uniformed police officers high-fived Northampton elementary school students on their way into class. They ended the program after 2 months when some parents of minority children complained a police presence could make their kids uncomfortable.

Superintendent Provost and Chief Kasper are now looking for new ways to create positive interactions. “We have no guarantees about how controversial any new program will be,” Chief Kasper told 22News. “Just giving someone a high-five, seeing maybe a stranger, a different police officer each week, is that really building something or can it be bettered?”

The Chief and Superintendent are proposing 3 different program ideas, and the schools can choose any one they’d like. One of them is to invite officers into a classroom setting, to teach students about their jobs and connect with them on a more personal level. The second option is recreation based activities. The third: having adults facilitate activities between kids and officers.

Superintendent Provost told 22News, “We wanted to provide some options for schools so that they had an opportunity to make the decision that made the most sense for their local school community.”

Each school’s faculty is reviewing these proposed programs before choosing which one they want to incorporate. The goal is to introduce these new programs by April.