State-wide initiative to deter hate crimes, funding local schools to reduce incidents of bias

The Healey-Driscoll Administration awarded ten school districts nearly a half a million dollars towards reducing incidents of bias in schools.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 9:08 PM EST
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GRANBY, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Healey-Driscoll Administration awarded ten school districts nearly a half a million dollars towards reducing incidents of bias in schools.

Granby schools is one of the ten districts across the state to receive the grant, the superintendent told Western Mass News that money will be used to educate and hopefully prevent hate-based incidents from happening in the district.

“One hate crime is too many and we’re seeing more than a day in Massachusetts,” said Governor Maura Healey.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration took steps to combat hate crimes here in the commonwealth.

With the state reaching a 20-year high of reported hate crimes, the governor said the time to act is now.

“Today we’re announcing a new state-wide initiative to confront and deter hate crimes here in Massachusetts,” added Gov. Healey.

A key element of that plan starts in schools.

“We are announcing more resources to our schools to prevent hate crimes and reduce the bias that can lead to them,” explained Healey. “We know that education is an antidote to the hateful ideologies that have been spreading in our culture.”

The governor is giving more than $460,000 in hate crime prevention grants to schools across Massachusetts.

The grant recipients received anywhere between $23,000 and $50,000 with the goal of reducing incidents of bias.

The Granby school district is one of the ten districts in the state to receive this grant.

“This is a societal issue and I think schools are often the place get looked at to try and provide some level of support to deal with these issues and I think this is just another place where we’re trying to do our part,” expressed Steven Sullivan.

The district’s superintendent, Stephen Sullivan said it wasn’t a single incident that inspired the district to pursue the grant.

“We’ve been in a place where we’ve had to react to certain situations and when the grant got posted we saw it as an opportunity to be more proactive and preventative and I think that’s really what pushed us to pursue it,” added Sullivan.

Sullivan told us the $48,000 grant will fund training that the district may otherwise been unable to afford.

“We’re providing some training both to our staff, the Anti-Defamation League will to do two half-day training with our staff around bias,” noted Sullivan. “The other big piece we’re doing with the collaborative of educational services is creating a district-wide bias incident response team.”

Sullivan said that response team will consist of staff specifically trained on how to properly respond to incidents of bias or hate if and when they do arise.

He also said that in addition to training staff, the grant will also be put towards giving students the necessary tools to recognize and respond to this type of behavior.