Parents and teachers concerned over recent violence near city school

Updated: 04/24/2014 11:09 PM
Created: 04/24/2014 10:26 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Parents and teachers at one local school are demanding the district does a better job of keeping students safe. It all comes after a shooting that happened Tuesday in the middle of the day on Genesee Street in the city, right across the street from a building that houses two schools with students in grades kindergarten through twelfth.

The school was never on lockdown and students were dismissed shortly after the shooting. That’s why parents and teachers are asking the district to place a school resource officer in their building to help in situations like this.

The issue is a school resource officer, which is a police officer that is usually placed at a school when there are issues inside. There isn’t one at this building. Both the schools in the building are considered safe, but the surrounding neighborhood is what is scary for teachers, parents and students. This week’s shooting was the last straw for many of them.

On Tuesday afternoon, Genesee Street turned into a crime scene. This is right outside of Rochester Early College International High School and Wilson Foundation Academy. Police say two men were shot, one was killed. On Tuesday, police had no one in custody.

Mary Courtney, teacher, said, “They (the students) kind of waited to be put on lock down and it never happened. There was an announcement that there was an incident in the neighborhood and you might not be able to walk to the place you normally can.”

Police and ambulances arrived.  A half hour later, both schools dismissed all students while the investigation was still going on.

Courtney said, “Our kids are in danger. We work and the kids go to school in a very dangerous neighborhood.”

That is why teachers and union representatives are demanding a school resource officer be assigned to the building Friday.

David Wurz, union representative, said, “A student resource officer would have been able to lock down the school because they would have heard the gunshots just like the students did.”

This is the third time this year the teachers and union have asked for a school resource officer after violence outside the schools. So will the board listen this time?

Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, Rochester City School District, said, “We understand their concern and we are very concerned. Of course, we want all the schools to be safe and we don't have control on what's happening outside in the neighborhood. We wish we did, but we don't. We are considering giving them as much support as necessary.”

News10NBC asked the superintendent when the school could expect to see a decision made about adding a school resource officer, but he did not give us a direct answer. Parents did receive a call from the district telling them their kids were never in danger.

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