- Municipal Police Training Committee
- Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Convenes Adolescent Mental Health Training for School Resource Officers
Kayla Rosario-Muñoz, Director of Communications
RANDOLPH — As part of its commitment to school safety and positive student outcomes, the Healey-Driscoll Administration has partnered with the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) this week to deliver two specialized trainings on adolescent mental health and trauma-informed conflict resolution. Funded by the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC), more than 70 school resource officers (SROs) from across the Commonwealth received advanced education at no cost to them on fundamental strategies to better serve school communities, support student health and safety, and divert at-risk youth from justice involvement.
This SRO program represents one of the many training initiatives that will be supported by the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) budget recommendation that funds MPTC at $20.2 million. The Administration’s proposal, which provides MPTC with a $6.7 million increase year-over-year, ensures the continuation of officer training requirements introduced in the 2021 Police Reform bill, including enhanced school resource officer training.
“The safety of our children, their teachers, and support staff is a priority of this Administration,” said Governor Maura Healey. “This training provides our school resource officers with the knowledge and tools they need to identify mental health concerns, connect at-risk youth with resources, and maintain a safe and supportive environment for our students to learn and grow.”
“Our Administration’s budget reflects a commitment to school safety through its investment in the dedicated professionals who serve our kids,” Lieutenant Governor Kimberley Driscoll. “Funding for these training initiatives helps build positive relationships with students, provides peer support for teachers and staff, and develops the skills needed to create a culture of safety in our schools.”
To date, Massachusetts police departments have designated nearly 400 officers as SROs. In addition to their requirements as a certified police officer, these dedicated women and men complete a specialized training program for a secondary SRO certification by the Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission. After completing a 40-hour Basic Training focused on building positive relationships with students of diverse backgrounds and establishing successful partnerships with administrators, staff, and the community, they subsequently complete the adolescent mental health and trauma-informed conflict resolution course offered by MPTC and NASRO. Last year, the course’s first, MPTC offered more than 30 sessions across the Commonwealth.
“Feeling safe in school is fundamental to achieving the best educational outcomes for students and educators. Robust School Resource Officer Programs staffed by well-trained school resource officers are instrumental to promoting school safety, engaging at-risk students with proactive mental health support, and mitigating threats of violence,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy. “I want to commend the MPTC, NASRO and the school communities for their commitment to ensuring that school resource officers have the skills, knowledge, and positive relationships required to meet the needs of schools across the Commonwealth.”
SROs also complete specialized annual in-service training in addition to their normal police officer in-service requirements. In 2022, 600 SROs fulfilled their specialized in-service requirement by attending a 2-day, in-person MPTC conference in Norwood or Southbridge. Program topics included: LGBTQ+ awareness and support, interviewing juveniles, and insights from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
In more than a decade of offering SRO training, MPTC has partnered with many stakeholders, including the Department of Youth Services, Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, Family Resource Centers, and the Massachusetts Juvenile Police Officer's Association to ensure SROs receive training that is informed by the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of system stakeholders.
“The MPTC understands the significant importance of safety in our schools and communities and remains focused on supporting the development and delivery of world class training for Law Enforcement throughout the Commonwealth.” said MPTC Executive Director Robert Ferullo (Ret. Police Chief). “Collaboration with subject matter experts, advocates and community organizations ensures we are equipping officers across the Commonwealth with relevant and vital resources.”
“The information that this course provides is essential to SROs, because approximately 20% of adolescent students have mental health issues,” said NASRO executive director Mo Canady. “By enabling SROs to recognize behavior that’s often linked to mental health needs, we can help officers de-escalate situations, avoid student arrests and connect students with appropriate resources.”
NASRO is a nonprofit organization for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators and school security/safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff, and the schools they attend. NASRO’s national offices are in Hoover, Alabama. The organization was established in 1991. For more information, visit www.nasro.org.