UMass Boston and Partners Unveil Updated Violence Prevention Curriculum for Boston Schools

Colleen Locke | November 06, 2014
This billboard is located at the corner of Roxbury and Center streets in Roxbury.

This billboard is located at the corner of Roxbury and Center streets in Roxbury.
Image by: Colleen Locke

Understanding Violence Program Updated for Middle School Students

UMass Boston and its partners unveiled an updated violence prevention curriculum for Boston middle- and high-schoolers on Thursday, which includes a billboard campaign and a video

UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley joined Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins, and Clear Channel’s Stephen Ross to unveil a billboard for the Overcoming Violence program at Roxbury and Center streets in Roxbury.

The billboard, designed by UMass Boston and donated by Clear Channel, echoes the theme of the new Overcoming Violence curriculum produced by Conley’s office. The new materials build upon the existing “Understanding Violence curriculum, which has been presented in city schools and youth centers for the past 10 years.

“I’m proud of our university’s involvement, from our contributions to the curriculum, to our design team who helped create the billboard,” Motley said. “For the next few months, our message of peace and positivity will be up in the skies all over this great city. It’s a meaningful and powerful expression of our shared commitment to overcoming violence, promoting peace in our city.”

“Overcoming Violence isn’t an attempt to scare kids straight,” Conley said. “It’s a reality-based teaching tool with one overwhelming message for kids: The choices that you make today will have profound ramifications and consequences for your life tomorrow.”

“Today is about how do we continue to pass the message along to young people in the city of Boston, to let them know there are alternatives, to let them know we’re in their corner, rather than react to what’s happening in our city,” Walsh said.

Thursday’s event was held outside the James P. Timilty Middle School.

Seventh graders at the school will be the first to use the curriculum, which was updated and rewritten by Professor of Human Services Sylvia Mignon and graduate students in the College of Public and Community Service with this age group in mind. John Jessoe, director of the UMass Boston Video Production Center, and his staff shot footage for the Overcoming Violence video at the Suffolk County House of Corrections; a Boston Police Department detective also took part in the video.

The UMass Boston Office of Community Relations combined their annual billboard initiative with the “Overcoming Violence" campaign. Each year, the Community Relations office highlights a project or issue that is of great importance to the community and brings attention to it through billboards placed around the city.  In past years they have highlighted UMass Boston's partnership with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, a partnership with Dorchester’s fledgling Bridge to Excellence mentoring program, and a nationwide higher education movement to assist returning veteran’s transitioning back to a civilian life and continuing education.

You can find the Overcoming Violence billboard at the following locations:

  • Roxbury Street/Centre Street, Roxbury
  • Dorchester Street/E. 8th Street, South Boston
  • Blue Hill Ave/Walk Hill Street, Dorchester
  • Blue Hill Ave/Fairway Street, Mattapan
  • Dorchester Ave/Hoyt Street, Dorchester
  • Saratoga Street/Bremen Street, East Boston
  • Cambridge Street/Brighton Street, Charlestown
  • Brighton Ave/Cambridge Street, Allston
  • River Street/Central Ave, Hyde Park
  • Washington Street/Metropolitan Ave, Roslindale

About UMass Boston
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 16,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

Tags: billboard , community , community relations , overcoming violence

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Comments (1)

Posted by ww | November 08, 2014 - 1:23 p.m.

So inspiring, violence never fix anything