Northampton Schools’ Back-Hand To Police A Disgrace

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Do all white liberals die of ulcers?

The brouhaha over the recently ended activity by Northampton police to offer high-fives to elementary students as they walked into school is missing one element crucial to any conflict:  two sides.

In all the published reports, and during an excruciating 25-minute discussion of the Northampton School Committee last month, not one person who is an illegal immigrant or a member of a racial minority ever expressed fear about cops showing up at schools to offer kids a high-five.

But School Committee members were so sure that such people might be afraid that they tied themselves in knots.

(If your antacid is nearby, then consider watching the Northampton School Committee discussion of January 12 on YouTube. It lasts from 41:59 to 1:06:56.)

One School Committee member, Ann Hennessey, actually said her kids loved the high-five program, but she noted that she and the rest of the school officials make up a “white community of leaders” that couldn’t know how “communities of color” feel about it.

Neither she nor any other school official mentioned a second-hand or third-hand or any-hand account of any actual person claiming to be spooked by the high-five program.

Only School Committee member Molly Burnham actually said negative things about the program, though not apparently the negative things she was thinking. Instead, she came up with a preposterous argument that the high-five program didn’t belong in a school because its effectiveness couldn’t be measured.

To watch the police chief respond with courtesy and a straight face that a lot of things can’t be measured is to see a study in restraint.

What makes the discussion precious is that all the discussers are white, and all the discussers are liberals.

The committee members outdid one another with paeans to sensitivity. At one point, two committee members were able to use as a reference point a National Public Radio story they had both listened to that morning.

The funny part is that in the police chief they seemed to be talking to one of their own.

The Northampton Police Department does backflips to be racially and culturally sensitive. The police chief said her cops had a total of 755 hours of training last year in how not to be biased. The cops already weren’t cooperating with federal immigration authorities when, in August 2014, the mayor decided to issue an executive order saying they must continue not cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

The high-five program was yet another backflip. Chief Jody Kasper noted that the idea came from a task force report issued after the Ferguson race riots in Missouri. (Remember the case in 2014 where a white police officer shot a black convenience store robber, and we were all supposed to believe it was an obvious case of police racism?)

Kasper, who may be the most mild-mannered police chief in Massachusetts, suggested that she’d like to see kids have positive interactions with police officers rather than negative ones.

But no, move along, we don’t want none of your kind at our schools. Somebody, somewhere might feel uncomfortable.