WCVB-5 Spotlights Cambridge as a Model

Safety Net & RAUC In the News
Posted on 11/03/2017
Channel 5 has just completed an investigative report into the relationship between Massachusetts school districts and their local police departments. Channel 5's Mike Baudet profiled Cambridge as a model of successful collaboration that aims at stabilize students and families rather than criminalizing young people. 

The story credits Cambridge's Safety Net Collaborative as the reason behind starkly lower rates of arrests on school property than found in other urban school districts. Safety Net brings together representatives from Cambridge schools, mental health, human service, and law enforcement agencies to coordinate prevention, intervention and support services that foster positive youth development and keep students out of the juvenile justice system. 

officer jonesTo illustrate Cambridge's success, a news team from Channel 5 spent an afternoon at Rindge Avenue Upper Campus (RAUC), following School Resource Officer JJ Jones as he interacted with students during lunch and recess. Through relationships of trust and mutual respect, Officer Jones says that he is able to be there for students during times of crisis. 

In an interview with the news team, RAUC Principal Julie Craven emphasized that Officer Jones's contribution to supporting students is completely separate from any disciplinary issues that may arise. Unlike in other places, where police are sometimes called in to enforce behavioral expectations, Principal Craven expresses disbelief that a police officer would ever be called because a student isn't following rules. The reason? "Because they're children, and our job is to help them grow."