Civil Rights Teams Project

The Civil Rights Team Project (CRTP) is a school-based preventative program to combat hate violence, prejudice, harassment and bias in the schools. The CRTP builds a collaborative of students, faculty and community advisors who work together to create a safer environment for all students and to lower incidence of hate language in the school community. Through regional student and faculty trainings and in-service trainings on site, participant schools develop involved citizen behaviors that can reduce the incidence of bias language that too often leads to bias based threats and violence. Students learn intervention strategies and peer education strategies to reduce intolerance and build an understanding of Maine Civil Rights Act in the entire school community.

The CRTP attempts to create a structure within schools whereby teachers and students work together in a coordinated effort with state and local law enforcement to change the climate of intolerance and violence within schools. Equally important, the CRTP seeks to create alternative mechanisms through which students could alert someone of harassment before the harassment escalates to serious violence. The CRTP has grown from 18 middle and high schools in 1996 to more than 202 schools this year, including 11 elementary schools.

A Civil Rights Team consists of at least two faculty advisors, an average of ten to twelve students, and a community advisor (someone from the community who provides a means of connection and support outside the school system). At regional trainings in the fall, teams are grounded in the Civil Rights Act, develop team building and leadership skills, and learn more about civil rights and how they as a team can impact their school community. In the spring, teams participate in a statewide conference. The conference provides broad based information and experiences relating to civil rights, and allows teams from across the state to work interactively.

Teams meet weekly or bi-weekly in their schools. Teams projects include bulletin boards, assemblies, and surveys, to name just a few.

Regional Coordinator: Schools are supported in their efforts by a regional coordinator, who serves as the primary liaison between the school and the Department. The regional coordinators have expertise in working with schools and provide invaluable resource information and ongoing consultation to the schools.

Community Advisor: Schools are also supported in their efforts by a community advisor. The community advisor works with the Civil Rights Team and assists them in making connections with the larger community. The community advisor can also assist with locating resources for teams.