Participants stand together for a photo after taking part in Project Unite’s Four Integrated Systems for School Violence Prevention training hosted by Burlington Police. (Courtesy Burlington Police Department)
Contact: Robert Mills
BURLINGTON – Chief Thomas P. Browne reports that the Burlington Police Department, in collaboration with the National Association of School Resource Officer’s Project Unite, hosted a two-day training session on preventing school violence and self-harm.
The training, known as Project Unite: Four Integrated Systems for School Violence Prevention, focuses on the prevention of violence by educating multi-disciplinary teams of police, clinicians, and school staff. The training included special guests Mo Canady, executive director of NASRO, and Michelle Gay, a mother, educator, and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools, who lost her daughter Josephine Grace in the Sandy Hook school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012.
The training focused on four areas:
- Building and maintaining a positive school culture and climate
- Bystander reporting and response
- Information sharing
- Behavioral threat and suicide assessment and management
The training provides step-by-step guidance on how to implement each area of focus, and how to use a comprehensive approach to anticipating violence or self-harm. The training teaches participants to use strategies that are informed by federal recommendations, research, and community policing principles.
The training was held at Grandview Farm in Burlington and was attended by representatives of Burlington Police, Tewksbury Police, Fitchburg Police, and Babson College Police, among others.
Representing Burlington were Lt. Glen Mills, School Resource Officers Vito Costa and Dominic Calicchio, Mental Health Clinician Karen DiRienzo, and Burlington Director of Youth and Family Services Christine Shruhan.
Tuition was funded by a grant from the Department of Justice’s Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).
“This training was invaluable to our efforts to prevent school violence and self-harm,” said Chief Browne. “We are always working to be prepared for incidents of school violence, but this training will also help us work with our community partners to prevent violence from occurring and to keep our students safe from all threats. We are grateful to the Department of Justice COPS Office, and NASRO for allowing us to host this vital learning experience, and we are grateful to Mo Canady and Michelle Gay for sharing their experience and expertise as well.”