Hampden-Wilbraham Safe and Violence Free Schools – Wilbraham, MA
The Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) initiative allowed Hampden-Wilbraham to work toward safer schools "from the inside out." The key to systemic and sustainable change was commitment at the highest levels of school and school-district administration, and collaboration with law-enforcement partners.
School Resource Officers not only assisted with curriculum delivery in the classroom, but also worked with administrators to understand and address issues that might begin as incidents of fighting or violence in the community, and then erupt within the school setting. Systems and procedures for early identification, school-based support, risk/threat assessment for students at a higher level of concern, and a process for referring struggling students and their families to community-based services, provided the final critical pieces in a systemic approach.The following results over time were highly promising:
- The number of disciplinary incidents at area elementary schools decreased during every year of the grant. From 2010–2014, the number of incidents dropped from 580 to 259.
- Middle-school reported a decrease in bullying from 51 percent in 2010 to 35.6 percent in 2014.
At the conclusion of the SS/HS initiative, the district expanded an Advisory program into the high school and introduced the Lifelines Suicide Prevention Curriculum in the 9th grade.