EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Thursday was one of the last times Easthampton High School students met to talk about the acts of hate and violence they know are going on around campus. These are focus groups with anywhere between 3 to 45 students.

Thursday’s forum was the 9th so far, with only one more scheduled. Dr. Safire DeJong, a consultant who facilitates these voluntary forums, told 22News she’s listened to over 100 students already, all of whom have spoken openly about alleged violence or hate language they’ve seen or heard.

Though people may doubt how successful these forums are to stop this, Dr. DeJong assures they are; “I think there’s a lot of different parties involved. People have different perspectives on what has happened and what the needs are. It’s about bringing people together and thinking about how we can move forward with something that is going to be sustainable and supportive of students.”

At each meeting, students are told not to share what’s discussed. A note taker records the themes of what students report, with any specific allegations they mention.

Next, there are two focus groups scheduled for parents, and another two for teachers and staff. The goal is to finish all of these forums by mid-May.

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