FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 10, 2014
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
Officials representing law enforcement, education, and city government gathered at a Roxbury middle school last week to announce an updated version of an acclaimed antiviolence curriculum and unveil a billboard donated at no cost to promote it.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, Suffolk Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh were joined Thursday by students of the James P. Timilty Middle School to announce Overcoming Violence, a teaching tool that updates the Understanding Violence curriculum Suffolk prosecutors have presented to thousands of Boston’s youth over the past 10 years.
Overcoming Violence uses an interview documentary, guest speakers, site visits, and group discussions to demonstrate for young people the long–term consequences of their positive and negative choices – especially as they relate to staying in school and choosing the right role models versus using drugs and engaging in violent crime. It will take the place of the curriculum launched by Conley’s office in 2004, and was updated with the help of graduate students in the UMass Boston Master’s in Human Services program, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Boston Public Schools students, and the Boston Police Department.
“The most effective antiviolence program is education,” DA Conley said. “Young people prepared for middle school, high school, and college are at a significantly lower risk of committing a violent crime or being the victim of one. By demonstrating the importance of school and the consequences of crime, Overcoming Violence has the potential to divert kids and teens from ever becoming involved in the criminal justice system.”
“I am proud of UMass Boston’s important part in this collaborative effort,” said Chancellor Motley. “For the next few months, our messages of peace and positivity will be up in the skies, visible to students on their way to school, drivers on the expressway, people looking out of their windows at home. It’s a meaningful and powerful expression of our shared commitment to overcoming violence, and promoting peace, in our city.”
“I’m proud to be part of this coalition of agencies because, while we are all individually committed to reducing violence, together we can have a profound impact on our respective communities,” Sheriff Tompkins said. “At the Sheriff’s Department, our efforts have been to provide resources to those already in the system to help them to not recidivate, while moving young people away from incarceration and toward education. The Overcoming Violence curriculum is another tool in the tool belt we can use.”
“The Overcoming Violence curriculum uses powerful stories to help young people absorb and understand that every action has consequences,” said Mayor Walsh. “But this isn’t just about raising awareness; this is about showing young people that everyone cares about their future. Addressing violence in our city is clearly a complex issue, and our success depends on our collaboration, just like the collaboration that went into this program. Working together, we are taking strides to overcome violence in our City.”
Where Understanding Violence was presented to middle school and high school students, Overcoming Violence specifically targets a middle school audience to reach city youth earlier in their lives. Seventh graders at the Timilty School will be the first to receive the new curriculum over the next several weeks, and a billboard promoting it was unveiled outside their school at last week’s event. That billboard is one of several to be posted free of charge by Clear Channel Communications; the others will be posted at:
To learn more about Overcoming Violence, or to request its presentation at a Suffolk County school or youth group, visit www.SuffolkDistrictAttorney.com/overcoming-violence.