- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts school district aiming to keep students out of legal trouble has seen arrests at school fall by more than 70 percent in five years.

The Republican of Springfield reports (https://bit.ly/2o2prWx ) that student arrests in the Springfield public school district fell from 301 in 2011 to just 80 this past school year. Suspensions also fell by 44 percent.

School officials say a diversion program first offered four years ago is a primary reason for the reduction. While students can be charged with a misdemeanor for disrupting class, the district is instead putting many into a program that involves Saturday sessions, counseling and anger management instruction.

The district partnered with local police on the effort, putting together a team of 19 officers that are stationed at schools.

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