State Convenes Adolescent Mental-health Training for School Resource Officers

RANDOLPH — As part of its commitment to school safety and positive student outcomes, the Healey-Driscoll administration partnered with the National Assoc. of School Resource Officers (NASRO) this week to deliver two specialized trainings on adolescent mental health and trauma-informed conflict resolution.

Funded by the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC), more than 70 school resource officers (SROs) from across the Commonwealth received advanced education at no cost to them on fundamental strategies to better serve school communities, support student health and safety, and divert at-risk youth from justice involvement.

This SRO program represents one of the many training initiatives that will be supported by the administration’s 2024 budget recommendation that funds MPTC at $20.2 million. The administration’s proposal, which provides MPTC with a $6.7 million increase year-over-year, ensures the continuation of officer-training requirements introduced in the 2021 police-reform bill, including enhanced school resource-officer training.

“The safety of our children, their teachers, and support staff is a priority of this administration,” Gov. Maura Healey said. “This training provides our school resource officers with the knowledge and tools they need to identify mental-health concerns, connect at-risk youth with resources, and maintain a safe and supportive environment for our students to learn and grow.”  

To date, Massachusetts police departments have designated nearly 400 officers as SROs. In addition to their requirements as certified police officers, they complete a specialized training program for a secondary SRO certification by the Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. After completing a 40-hour basic training focused on building positive relationships with students of diverse backgrounds and establishing successful partnerships with administrators, staff, and the community, they subsequently complete the course on adolescent mental health and trauma-informed conflict resolution offered by MPTC and NASRO. Last year, the course’s first, MPTC offered more than 30 sessions across the Commonwealth.

“Feeling safe in school is fundamental to achieving the best educational outcomes for students and educators. Robust school resource-officer programs staffed by well-trained school resource officers are instrumental to promoting school safety, engaging at-risk students with proactive mental-health support, and mitigating threats of violence,” Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy said. “I want to commend the MPTC, NASRO, and the school communities for their commitment to ensuring that school resource officers have the skills, knowledge, and positive relationships required to meet the needs of schools across the Commonwealth.”