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|September 10, 2003
Holland, Director of Communications
Officers Join Students and Teachers this Fall in
and teachers are not the only ones returning to school
Officers, 27 in Middlesex County, are among the
staff, court-involved children will encounter
this year. The Probation Officers, may be found
walking the corridor or meeting with students
in their offices at the school. Probation Officers
also meet with school administrators, teachers,
and collaborate with the court liaison at the
schools. There are 218 public schools in Middlesex
Officers were first assigned to the schools in
Middlesex County in 1999. The students meet with
their Probation Officers during recess or break,
according to Middlesex Juvenile Court Chief Probation
Officer Gil Sakakeeney.
are serviced better in their communities and
especially in their schools. The most important
part of their day is spent in school. Having
Probation Officers in the school serves as an
ever-present reminder for children who are court-involved.
We make sure that the children get to school
on time. We see how they dress and what they
do in school," said Middlesex Juvenile Court
Chief Probation Officer Gil Sakakeeny. "Our presence
in the schools also helps us to build better
relationships with the schools and enables us
to exchange information and provide important
resources and services for the children."
County Probation Officer Maureen Flaherty is
one of two P.O.'s who work at nine Cambridge
grammar schools, a charter school, alternative
school and a large high school that comprise
five separate divisions or schools.
get a fuller picture of the court-involved child
in school. When he or she comes to court, they
are in an artificial environment and are with
their parents. It is different in the schools," Flaherty
said. "Of course it is surprising for the children.
But, they come to realize that they have adults
and professionals who have their best interest
in mind. They know that we are taking them seriously
and doing what we say we are going to do. We
are also making them accountable for their actions."
added, "The presence of Probation Officers in
the schools is also helpful to administrators.
If a child is having a hard time or a crisis
or if they have special education needs, we are
there to help."
the time a child gets to the point where they
are involved with the court, it is evident that
they need organization and consistency in their
lives and someone who will follow through. They
need someone who will make sure that they tow
the line," said Ellen Vorella, principal of the
Peabody School in Cambridge.
Massachusetts Probation Service is a department
of the Office of the Commissioner of Probation.
Probation's Juvenile Court system includes
11 divisions which represent every county in
the state. There are 12 Superior Court, 70
District Court and 12 Probate and Family Court
probation offices throughout the Commonwealth.
The Office of the Commissioner of Probation
(OCP) serves as the central administrative
office for the state Probation service and
the Office of Community Corrections which operates
21 Community Corrections Centers throughout