Some Pittsford town board members support communities” Unity Rally

[anvplayer video=”5060921″ station=”998131″]

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WHEC) — Local leaders say that change starts inside the schools.

This is the second rally for "PittsFORWARD”, a community-led initiative that promotes a sense of safety and inclusion for all who live, visit and work in Pittsford. Members of the group say that even though Sunday’s Unity Rally was planned in advance, recent events are giving it a whole new meaning.

Other groups like "SURJ ROC” (Showing Up for Racial Justice) were also there to support students. Group members say they feel there are deep-rooted issues in Pittsford that are being swept under the rug.

"Our structure of our schools communicates a more powerful message than any program can do,” said Kevin Beckford, a Pittsford town board member.

There was no argument about education, consequences and accountability being needed within the Pittsford school district.

“Things like a real training for teachers, for upper administration in the school district. Whether it’s students voices being heard, being taken seriously, and having real consequences,” said Courtney Shouse, a SURJ ROC member.

Even with district officials showing up to the rally and being there for students, parents say it does not make up for what the community has endured.

"We moved here about two years ago and since we got here it’s been one thing after another with this school district. Whether it’s been associated with sports groups and how the administration handles things, we’re just not happy with it,” said Crystal Petit-Frere, a Pittsford parent.

Students say they are still in shock over seeing a racist video and hearing about slurs at sporting events. But, they are hopeful for change.

"It was all super messed up, and it was surprising that it would even happen. Just try and treat people equally, the way that you would want to be treated,” said DJ Petit-Frere, Pittsford student.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating multiple recent racist incidents in the district. Event organizers say they are planning on holding future rallies.