BOSTON (WWLP) – Ten Massachusetts school systems have been awarded funding to help reduce bias incidents, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced Monday.

In addition, a new effort to address and prevent hate crimes in the state includes the Hate Crimes Awareness and Response Team (HART) formed by the Massachusetts State Police which involves federal, state, and local partnerships, and liaising with community leaders to strengthen response to these hate crimes and hate-based incidents. The HART team will be made of four to five state police members tasked with the following:

  • Enhance statewide data collection and information-sharing to identify statewide, national, and global patterns and trends
  • Increase stakeholder collaboration and educational outreach
  • Develop advanced training in coordination with the Municipal Police Training Committee to equip law enforcement with best practices for hate crime response
  • Streamline coordination between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies

A total of $461,920 in Hate Crime Prevention grants were awarded to ten school districts, including Gateway, Granby, and Lenox, to help educators, staff, administrators, and students reduce incidents of bias in schools. 

  • Burlington: $50,000
  • Medway: $23,250
  • Gateway: $50,000
  • Granby: $48,670
  • Lenox: $40,000
  • Gloucester: $50,000
  • Framingham: $50,000
  • North Reading: $50,000
  • Bedford: $50,000
  • Newton: $50,000

There were 440 reports of hate crime incidents in Massachusetts last year, the highest since 2002. The most reported were prejudice against race and ethnicity or national origin.

“With hate crimes on the rise across the country and here in Massachusetts, it is essential that we bring people together to advance proactive solutions and support our communities. We are proud to launch the Hate Crimes Awareness and Response Team, which will play an essential role in addressing and preventing hate crimes, supporting survivors, and strengthening our communities. We are also dedicating $460,000 to school districts that far too often are on the frontlines of confronting bias-motivated incidents and can be instrumental in preventing hate and creating safe environments for students and their families,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Here in Massachusetts, we stand firmly against hate – and we are backing up that commitment with resources and investments.” 

“Our administration remains deeply committed to ensuring that communities and organizations have the tools and resources needed to create safe, inclusive, and protected environments,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This new statewide initiative is another step toward strengthening Massachusetts’ ability to uphold our values and celebrate our diversity. We will continue to confront intolerance with the determination that this moment demands.”  

“Governor Healey, Lieutenant Governor Driscoll, and I know that no singular person, office, or organization should have to address incidents of hate alone. I want to thank the Healey-Driscoll Administration for building a strong coalition and implementing a holistic, statewide strategy to tackling these critical issues,” said Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell. “My office and I will continue to support these efforts, while using our own enforcement tools to allow everyone in Massachusetts the right to live free from hate and discrimination.” 

“No organization or community can stand alone when it comes to public safety. In Massachusetts, our partnerships are strong, and the level of coordination is unprecedented. The MSP’s new HART Unit will build upon those connections and strengthen our shared resolve to ensure that hate has no place in our communities,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy. “Together, we will stand united against the rise in bias-motivated threats, harassment, and violence to create a safer and more inclusive Massachusetts for all its residents.” 

“Recent events at home and abroad provide a tragic and urgent reminder that no community is immune from the unpredictable and devasting impact of a bias-motivated event,” said Massachusetts State Police Interim Colonel John Mawn, Jr. “As our nation continues to grapple with a concerning increase in unlawful acts of hate, the State Police will meet this moment with a robust strategy and sustained commitment to confronting bias and intolerance by strengthening law enforcement partnerships, enhancing community engagement, and delivering advanced training and education to stakeholders.”  

“These Hate Crime Prevention grants will allow our schools to tackle the difficult concepts of bias and hate crimes to create safe and nurturing school environments that allow every student to feel supported,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick Tutwiler. “It’s an honor to partner with EOPPS and Secretary Reidy in efforts to reduce hate crimes across the communities of Massachusetts.” 

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