|Community Relations Service|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 26, 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C. The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS) conducted a Student Problem Identification and Resolution (SPIR) Program with 80 high school students to reduce racial tensions and conflict at Damascus High School in Damascus, Maryland, on April 25-26, 2002.
"CRS provided conflict resolution and violence prevention services and conducted the Student Problem Identification and Resolution Program at the request of school officials in response to several racial incidents between Black and White high school students," said CRS Regional Director Vermont McKinney.
The SPIR Program was created by CRS as a problem-solving approach for addressing conflict in multi-cultural schools and school districts. The program is a two-day process in which a representative cross-section of students develop recommendations and a work plan to improve racial harmony in the school. A principal's student advisory council is established as an on-going mechanism to work directly with school administrators and faculty to address racial and ethnic issues in both a preventive and reactive manner.
The Community Relations Service partnered with school officials, the Community Relations Team of the Montgomery County Police Department, and the NAACP to conduct the SPIR Program.
For more information about the Community Relations Service, a unique racial conflict resolution and prevention agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, or to obtain information on best practices on responding to hate crimes and racial conflict, please see its web site at: www.usdoj.gov/crs.