NHPD Kicks Off Diversity Program at Lincoln-Bassett

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
 
 
CONTACT:
Christopher Hoffman
203-946-8450
 
 
NEW HAVEN POLICE LAUNCH NEW PROGRAM TO BUILD CULTURE DIVERSITY, RESPECT IN CITY SCHOOLS
 
 
 
The New Haven Police Department (NHPD) today launched Building Horizons Through Cultural Diversity in the New Haven Public Schools (NHPS), a new program to build awareness of and respect for diversity, teach students about the world outside the United States and improve police-community relations.
 
 
 
Under the program, NHPD officers with roots in other nations talk to elementary school students about their countries of origin. The program is being piloted at Lincoln-Bassett School and will expand to other city schools next year.
 
 
 
Officer Maneet Bhagtana, who is of Indian origin, kicked off the program today, giving a presentation about India to fourth graders at Lincoln-Bassett School.
 
 
 
The program is the brainchild of Lt. Patricia Helliger, who traveled the world as a flight attendant before joining the NHPD. Helliger said that the department has officers with roots in 15 countries, including Haiti, Jamaica, Peru and Guatemala.
 
 
 
“This program aims to expand cultural awareness,” Lt. Helliger said. “The officer’s personal experiences and personal presentations may help students understand cultural differences and learn to respect those differences in others in the community.
 
 
 
“Additionally, these presentations show how much cultures actually share, including similarities students may not realize. This fosters student’s acceptance of different cultures. My hope is that this acceptance spills over into other areas, helping combat bullying.”
 
 
 
Lt. Helliger said that the program will also include field trips to the United Nations and New York consulates of the nations that students learn about.