Dads stepping in to help curb violence at some RCSD schools

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Activists are calling for stability, love and dads to make Rochester schools safer.

The group F.I.R.E., Fathers Initiating Restorative Engagement, plans to start volunteers walking school hallways on Monday. Saturday afternoon, the group invited dads in the Rochester City School District to sign up. Organizers say some students need people outside school to relate, too.

"Students want to see someone show up consistently, to say hello, and just be there for them,” said Jonathan Nwagdaraocha, an RCSD parent.

Parents were in the mix, signing paperwork inside RCSD headquarters to volunteer with F.I.R.E.. They want to be an ear for students of all ages.

"As a volunteer, I know that when I sign up, I have to show up when I say I am," Nwagdaraocha said. "There is no if’s and’s or buts’ about it, and that’s what I intended on doing."

Advocates with F.I.R.E say they’re getting volunteers into Edison Tech and Franklin High School immediately because of the recent violent episodes at those schools. Volunteers will dedicate one day a week for about two hours, during lunchtime or in between classes. Principals say they think some of the violent outbursts from these kids stem from having to grow up too fast.

"Many of our young people are dealing with things that many of our adults are dealing with, so we’re asking 14 and 15-year-olds to be adults," said Jacob Scott, the principal at Edison Tech. "They take care of young ones, you know, deal with not making any money to purchase clothes."

RCSD volunteer program leaders say this program is not just for troubled teens, it’s for everyone.

"When you talk about having problems in the schools, have there been problems at Edison and Franklin? Absolutely, but there are a lot of students who are doing the right thing, and we want to encourage all students to be successful,” said Ricky Frazier, a volunteer coordinator for RCSD.

News10NBC was told over 60 people signed up to volunteer Saturday and will start on Monday. For anyone that missed this meeting and wants to sign up, you can find more information on the district’s website.

Stephanie Duprey | Reporter