Parents voice concern about RCSD Safety Plan

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Safe schools are top-of-mind for many families as they get ready for the fall. The night after a 16-year-old East High student was shot and killed in Rochester, the city school district held a planned public hearing to get input on its school safety plan.

RCSD board members said the district-wide safety plan is an all-hazards approach to crisis management and focuses on being prepared for any possible scenario.

Parents say the plan needs a little work.

The plan focuses on mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery procedures.

Rebecca Hetherington has three boys enrolled in the district and said the plan needs to include ways to service the entire district and ensure equity of these opportunities.

“I am requesting that the document be updated to include quantifying what is currently being done in the district and what is to come online shortly, the funding sources, and how we can be working to increase prevention and intervention strategies that are cited on pages six and seven,” Hetherington said.

According to the plan, the district will provide intervention strategies, training, drills and exercises, implementation of school security and early detection of potentially violent behaviors.

“While this is a beautiful list of ways to support our students, staff and families, it fails to explain where these services are available, what schools these currently exist at, how many students they serve in a given school year, and who the point people are for questions and accountability,” Hetherington said.

“Are the doors alarmed? Are doors equipped with video surveillance? Are the loading docks secure? Parent, Catherine Bauroth said. “What will the RCSD do to ensure there is greater consistency between buildings in terms of building access by outsiders?”

According to the district, the building-level emergency response plan will remain confidential, but Bauroth said after recent mass shootings across the country, they need more transparency.

“While this list is very nice, my own scholars came home after school near daily last year with tales of chaos, fighting and disruptive learning environments. This does not line up with the list in your document.”

There is a 30-day public comment period on the plan that is open until August 13 and it will be considered before the plan is finalized.

Written Comments can be sent via email to the Office of Safety and Security.

The drafted plan can be read below:

2022-2023 RCSD District-Wide School Safety Plan