Police officers in Northampton, Massachusetts will be ceasing their “High Five Friday” program after parents complained that seeing police officers on the way to school was too much for undocumented students and people of color.
According to The Daily Caller, the program gave police officers a chance to connect with the community by greeting children and high-fiving them on their way to school.
A Twitter account associated with the Northampton Police Department reports that the program – which started last December – was initially well received.
— Northampton Police (@NorthamptonPD) December 2, 2016
Something changed, however, as evidenced by a note on the police department’s Facebook page that reads:
While we received a lot of support on social media, we also heard a few concerns about the program.
Concerns were shared that some kids might respond negatively to a group of uniformed officers at their school. People were specifically concerned about kids of color, undocumented children or any children who may have had negative experiences with the police.
The post goes on to state that the police department was ultimately asked to stop the “High Five Friday” program, which they did.
Children in the area are still encouraged to give “high fives, low fives and fist bumps” to police officers they see on the street, but there will be no more early morning greetings with law enforcement.
— Northampton Police (@NorthamptonPD) January 20, 2017
When news of this change spread, it rubbed many the wrong way.
“What an absolute disgrace,” commented Facebook user Jay Samp on the police department’s post.
“Way to cower to a bunch of [whiny] snowflakes! God forbid the children see the police as positive and friendly. Glad I do not live in or near that place.”
“What’s next? Will the department stop making arrests because defendants might be traumatized?” wrote David Cortese.
“You are ignoring the vast majority of residents who want strong, decisive officers to protect them.”
“This program was giving those kids an opportunity to become comfortable with police and have a more positive relationship with law enforcement than they might otherwise have,” argued Eliza Sue.
“A few [kids’] uncomfortable feelings derail a positive program,” bemoaned CarrieAnn O’Connor. “What about kids that want officers but now feel uncomfortable saying so! PC out of control.”