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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey Visits Framingham High School for a Student-Focused Discussion on Violence Prevention, Student Mental Health, and Uniting Community

  FPS Seal LogoFramingham Public Schools
Robert A. Tremblay, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

Rochelle Santos
Media and Communications Office
73 Mount Wayte Avenue, Suite #5

Framingham, Massachusetts 01702
Telephone: 508-782-6099 

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey Visits Framingham High School for a Student-Focused Discussion on Violence Prevention, Student Mental Health, and Uniting Community

An engaging student discussion helps to kick-off a series of program elements made available through a partnership between the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office and The Sandy Hook Promise.

November 22, 2019 (Framingham, MA) Last Wednesday more than 20 Framingham High School (FHS) students were joined by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Mark Barden, Co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer, and Dr. Tremblay, Superintendent of Schools for an engaging student discussion. Students shared their thoughts and concerns about violence prevention and student mental health, as well as the ways in which they are coming together to unite their community. 

“I genuinely appreciated hearing from our students about the importance of feeling safe in their school environment. The discussion took me back to my teaching days when educating and protecting my students were my highest priorities,” said Mayor Spicer.  “Most importantly, students need adults they can trust, and they must feel safe when they come to school. This seems like a simple notion, but we still have work to do. It is courageous conversations like this one that will help us make headway to achieve the goals of trust and safety in Framingham.”

As part of the prompted and moderated discussion, many students shared ideas and personal experiences that they felt could be beneficial in improving new student acclimation to Framingham High School - either as rising freshmen and also for those students who arrive at FHS from other cities, states, and countries at any point in their high school career. Some of those ideas included finding ways to improve student-staff relationships, encouraging students to find and join clubs or sports to build stronger peer connections, increasing school-day supported activities that allow inclusion for more students who might not be able to participate in after-school opportunities, and so many more. 

"It was a wonderful opportunity to have Attorney General Maura Healey visit with our students at Framingham High School and to talk candidly about the challenges that our teens face," said Dr. Tremblay, Superintendent of Framingham Public Schools. "The Attorney General continues to be incredibly accessible to all of her constituents and we appreciate her genuine interest in helping our students."

Organized by the Attorney General's office, this intimate student-owned conversation took place in Framingham which is one of 50 Districts in the Commonwealth selected to receive no-cost violence prevention and mental health trainings. This is a result of the Attorney General's Office partnership with Sandy Hook Promise to carry out a grant provided by the Department of Justice.

“There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our young people and communities,” said AG Healey. “My office is partnering with Sandy Hook Promise to provide mental health training, suicide prevention, and violence prevention programming to Massachusetts schools because we know that empowering our students to know the warning signs of violence will save lives.”

The Sandy Hook Promise program components are outlined below:

  • “Start with Hello” is an evidenced-based prevention program that empowers middle and high school students to recognize social isolation in their peers/classrooms/schools; encourages them to reach out and help.

  • “Say Something” is an evidence-based prevention program that empowers middle and high school students to look for and recognize threats, especially on social media, and to tell a trusted adult.

  • “Signs of Suicide” is an evidence-based youth suicide prevention program that teaches middle and high school students to recognize symptoms of depression and suicide, and to tell a trusted adult if they observe signs in a peer or themselves. This component uses a 'train the trainer' model.

Each school will register a student leadership club called “SAVE” (Students Against Violence Everywhere) Promise Clubs and identify an “Adult Champion” to help facilitate the club. Schools will receive ongoing support from Sandy Hook Promise and the Attorney General's Office after trainings have ended:

  • Access to online materials to sustain programming

  • Support for “refresher” trainings

Students from Framingham High School and Cameron Middle School attended the 'Start With Hello' training on November 12th and both Fuller and Walsh Middle Schools will have their training on November 25th. This presentation focused on ways to end social isolation through three easy steps: see someone alone, reach out and help, and start with hello. An after school club (SAVE  Promise Club) has been formed giving students a way to carry the message from the training. In SAVE, students will learn the skills needed to create a culture of inclusion within their school and community. The 'Say Something' program (gun-violence prevention) and the 'Signs of Suicide' training will be rolled out over the course of the year. 

Thank you to the following students who participated in this important discussion:

Freshmen: Mikal Franklin and Natalie Stevens

Sophomore: Thalia Santos 

Juniors: Angela Ansong, Nikita Bhatnagar, Anna Clara Xavier Costa, Sulmarys Yamilet Cruzado, Andrea Flores, Rianna Lawrence, Maria Much-Hichos, Kateryn Perez, Elizabetth Jia Jia Shek, Priscilla Maria Silva, Melissa De Paula Simoes, Nicholas Small, Ilana Louise Talamo, Lucas Texixeira, Xivanna Torres-Valera

Seniors: William Nogueira Bessa, Brian Chansky, Mira Donaldson, Abigail Olivia Enoch, Ava Monique Gordon, Hailey Vanaelstyn

About Sandy Hook Promise
The mission of Sandy Hook Promise is to create a culture engaged in preventing shootings, violence, and other harmful acts in schools. Based in Newtown, Connecticut, Sandy Hook Promise is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Their words, actions, and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.

About Framingham Public Schools
The mission of the Framingham Public Schools is to educate each student to learn and live productively as a critically-thinking, responsible citizen in a multicultural, democratic society by providing academically challenging instructional programs taught by highly-qualified staff and supported by comprehensive services in partnership with our entire community. For news, updates, and announcements, follow Framingham Public Schools (@FraminghamPS) on Facebook, Twitter, and (@framinghamschools) on Instagram. You can also join the conversation using #FraminghamSchools.

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