More than 140 Scarborough High School students joined law enforcement officers from the HISD Police Department, Houston Police Department and the Metro Houston Police Department in a program on Wednesday to reduce the number of hostile encounters between juveniles and law enforcement officers.
The Win-Win Program, developed by the Houston Health Department’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, imparts conflict-resolution skills through interactive workshops and candid group discussions.
Participants gathered together for a general assembly in the Scarborough High School auditorium, where they discussed the importance of strong student and peace officer relationships, which, according to Principal Roderick Trevino, Scarborough students are prepared for.
“I want our students to leave today with a sense of ease, as well as a sense of urgency where they understand that the police are not their enemy,” said Chandra Richardson, Scarborough High School College & Career Readiness Advisor. “We have to change some mindsets. We need them to understand that they have a job to do – the students, as well as the police department.”
“Scarborough students are the most respectful kids around,” he said. “The youth at our school are ready to be important members of our community. We are going to create good relationships here today.”
After the morning assembly, students proceeded to breakout sessions that included discussions on police interaction, conflict resolution, crime prevention, and safe driving.
The sessions provided an intimate setting for students to ask candid questions, raising concerns about issues that affect them daily. Participating law enforcement officers were able to directly address those issues, as well as explain to the students the realities they face on a day-to-day basis.
Throughout the morning, the conversations always led back to trust. At Scarborough, The Win-Win Program created personal interactions between police officer and students, which created a two-way better understanding of the challenges law enforcement and teens face every day.
“With communication, understanding, and transparency, we believe there will be a difference in how our students interact with law enforcement,” Richardson said. “It is a win-win for Scarborough, for HISD and for the city of Houston.”