Updated: 10/01/2013 11:37 PM
Created: 10/01/2013 11:31 AM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
There's a new plan Tuesday, that Rochester leaders hope will stop the violence at the Liberty Poll downtown. That's where hundreds of students are dropped off everyday and also where shots were fired during a fight last week.
Come Friday, there will be some strategic changes that will affect every student who rides back and forth to school on RTS buses.
Students will be issued passes with a specific color.
Students with orange passes will be allowed on express buses only. That means their buses will go to school and back home. Students with grey passes will be allowed to go downtown, but to transfer they will have to get what's called a connection pass to get on a bus downtown. That pass expires after 60 minutes. Students who have to go downtown for after school activities will have to get a special pass from the school principal.
This incident at the Liberty Poll last week prompted the changes. While trying to break up a huge fight police say scores of kids came running towards the fight creating a chaotic scene downtown. At the same time, someone fired a gun. No one was injured. School and city leaders along with members of RTS have been meeting to come up with a solution to the problem.
School board president Malik Evans says while it's the district's responsibility to find a solution. He says the community must address a much bigger issue.
“This is just a band-aid, it is not going to solve the problem. It is not the school district's job, the city's job, the bus services job to raise kids. It is the communities job. A student firing a gun should be something that the entire community should be outraged,” said Evans.
Abidan Muhammad, a parent of a RCSD student said, “Nobody in civilized society wants anybody creating havoc in their downtown, bottom-line. To all of our young people you need to stay positive. We need not to be downtown shooting, committing acts of violence, because overall it hurts us.
Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas says the majority of the students behave, and says these changes will allow those students to continue to get to where they need to go. In the meantime, he says you will continue to see a heavy police presence downtown for now.