Parents, teacher unimpressed with district’s new push to confront violence in schools

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Some parents, and a teacher with personal experience, are giving low marks to Rochester City School District’s new push to confront violence in schools.

They turned out today for a forum at Franklin High School over the weekend, which has seen its own rash of violence.

"The school district seems to be shuffling kids into long term suspensions and for long periods of time, so I want to know why we’re taking children’s educations away from them and weaponizing their education and resorting to police officers outside the district instead of giving them resources,” said Rachel Crawford, a parent of an RCSD student.

Franklin High teacher Corrine Mundorff was at this event. Earlier this month, she told News10NBC that she was sexually assaulted by a female student after breaking up a fight.

"I walked away from the group presentation feeling disappointed," Mundorff said. "There is a whole bunch of lip service, band-aids and quick fixes. There was a lot of talk about 100% graduation rate, and I thought we were focused on violence and stopping the violence… are we afraid of that word? Are we afraid to admit what’s going on in our schools?” Mundorff said.

Other discussions were around topics including student and parent action and mental health. Community groups like Fathers Initiating Restorative Engagement (F.I.R.E.) and Urban League of Rochester were also giving presentations. RCSD Superintendent Leslie Myers-Small says she wants to shift the narrative that RCSD students are violent.

"They’re not [violent], they are hurting because of the pandemic. I’m not excusing poor behavior, but we do have students who are hurting, if we look at how students are characterized – and I need to go here – in the urban environment versus the suburban environment, you hear a very different narrative,” Myers-Small said.

Some people we spoke to said they were eager to see how the F.I.R.E. program works out, which includes more parent engagement.