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South Hadley taking steps toward progress

By Elizabeth Corridan

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB) – South Hadley is getting a helping hand as it tries to battle back against the bullies. 

The state Department of Public Health sent a team of suicide prevention and mental health counselors to the embattled town’s school committee meeting.  Larry Berkowitz from the Riverside Trauma Center told committee members and residents in attendance.

“We don’t consider ourselves experts, we feel like we’ve got experience. We’ve helped communities go on a journey they don’t want to go on,” said Berkowitz.

Berkowitz pledged to partner with the community to help identify resources and strategies to help the town heal and prevent another tragedy.  His offer was welcomed by parents ready for change and action. 

“It’s really stressful to worry about the safety of your child,” said Kelley St. Clair.

Before Thursday night’s school committee meeting, St. Clair led a meeting of the Special Education Parents’ Advisory Council.  It was a chance for parents to brainstorm ideas in hopes of creating a safer, healthier learning environment for their children. 

“There is a time and a place to express frustrations and tonight we just wanted to focus on solutions,” said St. Clair.

The first meeting of the South Hadley’s Bullying Task Force is Feb. 23.