Police officers in a Massachusetts town are no longer allowed to give kids high fives as they enter their elementary school because it reportedly makes illegal immigrants and minority students feel uncomfortable.
Known as the “High Five Friday” program, police officers would happily greet children with smiling faces and an open palm to smack as they entered the educational institution.
“It was presented as an inexpensive (aka free) way for police officers to positively engage with youth in their communities and to show support for local schools. We loved the idea!” the Northampton Police Department announced in a statement Saturday. “Everyone was on board. Principals and teachers communicated the High Five Friday plan to staff, students, and families. We went to all of the elementary schools, exchanged high fives, and even snuck in some playground time with kids.” (RELATED: DC Police Order Facebook Give Up Inauguration Protesters’ Social Media Data)
But apparently not everyone was pleased with the presence of law enforcement at the schools.
“While we received a lot of support on social media … concerns were shared that some kids might respond negatively to a group of uniformed officers at their school,” the police department continued on its official Facebook post. “People were specifically concerned about kids of color, undocumented children, or any children who may have had negative experiences with the police.” (RELATED: Man Allegedly Threatened To Slit Muslim Police Officer’s Throat, Charged With Felony)
The police chief is discontinuing the seemingly innocuous program, but says the department is still exploring alternative ways to engage with the community.
“NPD really enjoyed greeting kids as they arrived at school … Luckily, 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!” the Northampton Police Department concluded.
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