In-Depth: A kindergartner wanders away from school. Has RCSD changed its policies following the 2018 death of Trevyan Rowe?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester City School District released a statement on Friday saying it’s investigating the incident in which a 5-year-old at School 39 was left outside alone following recess.  The frightened child walked almost a mile looking for help before a neighbor found little Jonathan Green crying on her doorstep.  News10 NBC reported the incident exclusively on Thursday.

This incident comes less than two years after the Rochester Central School District agreed to pay $1.15 million to the family of another RCSD student who wandered away from school and was later found dead.

Lets go in depth. 

An extensive joint investigation by the NY Department of Education and the state Attorney General’s Office l found districtwide systemic failures in RCSD’s procedures.

Here’s a timeline of events:

On Thursday, March 8th 2018 14-year-old Trevyan Rowe got off the school bus at School Number 12 and walked away.  When he didn’t come home after school, his mother called police and the search began.  Over the next two days, more than a thousand volunteers scoured neighborhoods around the school searching for the boy.  Police then reached out to motorists who had called 911 the day Trevyan disappeared, reporting having seen someone standing on the edge of the Douglas Anthony Memorial Bridge.

On March 11th, police and fire department scuba teams then searched the Genesee River.  And that’s when crews found the body of the seventh grader from School Number 12, Trevyan Rowe.

In the days that followed, we learned that three teachers had incorrectly marked Trevyan present, and that’s why his mother was never notified that he wasn’t in school that day. An extensive joint investigation by the State Department of Education and the State Attorney General’s Office found that among many failures by the city and school district, RCSD failed to enforce its own attendance policies.  They mandate the following:

  • Teachers and principals should receive a certified email when they fail to submit attendance.
  • Clerical staff should send a reminder to those teachers to submit attendance before midnight.
  • Teachers who fail to turn in attendance by midnight will be locked out of the system and must immediately turn in a hard copy.
  • Continued failure could result in disciplinary action.

Here are the issues News10 NBC will be investigating in Jonathan Green’s case:

  • Is RCSC adhering to its own attendance policies and check attendance in Jonathan’s class?
  • Did Jonathan’s teacher do a head-count when the children returned to class following recess?
  • Did anyone notify the office to inform administrators that a child was missing?
  • What is the district doing differently to assure children don’t wander away following the death of Trevyan Rowe?

In addition to RCSD’s internal investigation, News10 NBC has learned a criminal investigation is also underway.