RCSD union leaders push for solutions to end what they call spike in violence in schools

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester City School Board is weighing in on what union leaders say is the recent uptick in violence within the district.

The teachers union offered some immediate suggestions on how to resolve it. One of those options was bringing back school resource officers (SROs).

Over a year ago, the board voted to remove Rochester Police officers from their schools, the Rochester Teachers Association thinks that decision should be revisited while some board members think otherwise.

"I did not support taking SROs out of schools, personally I did not support that,” Van Henri White said, the RCSD Board of Education president.

Beatriz LeBron, a board commissioner says she once worked inside a Rochester City School, and from what she saw, SRO’s were not working out.

"School resource officers which are police, didn’t prevent violence, oftentimes there was only one police officer in the entire building, so it’s not a solution,” LeBron said.

The Rochester Teachers Association (RTA) said bringing back police officers is the better option, one reason is because safety officers don’t have the same training as police officers. The union proposed a list of 11 recommendations this week and one was to bring back RPD.

"The district should either, agree to the recommendations that we’re making, or propose better ones, we’re all ears,” said RTA President Adam Urbanski.

Right now, the issue is finding immediate solutions, which is what the teachers union has proposed, things like evening sessions for disruptive students, and smaller class sizes. The school board said it doesn’t disagree.

"There are some serious and valid points in there that I would get behind and support, for example even smaller classroom sizes,” LeBron said.

"With how many community meetings I’ve been to, too many where people talk a lot but don’t do much so if Adam or others where they say hey community meetings are fine but we need action here are some proposals we certainly interested in those ideas,” Van Henri White added.

The school board told News10NBC that Wednesday they’re meeting with Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester Police, and school district officials to start talking solutions, they said they’re also planning community conversations.