Amid violence, RCSD Superintendent ‘not recommending return of school resource officers, asks for counselors, social workers

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)— Rochester City School District Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small said she does "not recommend" the return of School Resource Officers to the district as it deals with an increase in violence.

In her video message to parents Friday, Myers-Small said the district instead, is seeking out additional School Safety Officers, which include counselors, social workers, and other support staff.

The message comes just hours after News10NBC shared with you the story of Corrine Mundorff, a teacher who works at Franklin High School. She said she was sexually assaulted by a female student after breaking up a fight earlier this month. The concerns of violence within the RCSD, lead at least one building, the NorthSTAR Social and Emotional Learning Center shut down due to both staffing issues and violence in the building.

Additionally, district leaders say a football game at East High School was postponed last Friday because of an incident earlier in the day where students from another school assaulted an East High student. On the same day, a student struck a staff member.

Over a year ago, the board voted to remove Rochester Police officers from their schools, the RTA thinks that decision should be revisited, as it proposed a list of 11 recommendations, including bringing police back. Some Board of Education members thought the use of Student Resource Officers (SRO’s) was not a useful choice.

On Wednesday the RCSD and City of Rochester released a joint statement announcing that Rochester police officers would be stationed outside of all 11 secondary schools in the district during arrival and dismissal times. The statement said the police presence would last through the rest of this week and the first half of next week.

While she said she did not recommend the return of SRO’s, Myers-Small stressed the importance of the district finding long-term solutions,

"Our children are hurting, and some of their behaviors are coming out in ways that are challenging," Myers-Small said."Far too many of our students experience trauma every day. The violence that is surrounding us must end and together we must work to find solutions."

Myers-Small said the district is continuing talks with the BOE, as well as parents, students, staff, and union leaders. Additionally, she says she’s speaking with RPD to determine ways the department can help in the short and long term.

"Our students need us now more than ever," Myers-Small said. "We all need to check-in and connect with them, as we know that the effects of the pandemic continue to impact us all."

The superintendent was not made available for comment on the Franklin High story Friday, as the district told News10NBC she was busy. The district instead, released a short statement on the incident, but did not address the teacher by name.

The written transcript of Myers-Small’s comments can be found below. Mobile users click here.

RCSD Superintendent Brief 1022021 by News10NBC on Scribd