Rochester school board approves placing uniformed officers outside certain schools

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Board of Education members approved a measure that would put six uniformed Rochester Police Department officers outside certain schools within the Rochester City School District at arrival and dismissal, once school begins on Sept. 6.

It’s a move that district officials said is aimed at providing a more secure environment for students.

“This does in no way put police in our school buildings … but this does put them outside of our school buildings, to help assist and be present,” Superintendent Carmine Peluso said during Thursday’s board meeting.

Retired city school district teacher William Scott said it’s a move in the right direction.

“The presence of uniformed police would hopefully be a deterrent,” Scott said.

After a shooting on the doorsteps of Franklin High School, stolen cars driving across campus, and other incidents, Scott said he wants to make sure the board’s decision is made using data that would enhance student safety.

“I think the board needs to look at that and talk to the administrators at those schools to see whether or not they should be needed,” Scott said.

According to the board’s budget estimate, adding uniformed officers outside certain schools during arrival and dismissal would cost nearly $848,000 — an action Peluso said is worth it, if it means assuring the safety of students.

During the board meeting, Peluso said, “It will keep six police officers at various locations at our schools depending on what data and information we receive.”

While It’s unclear which schools will have the outside police presence, RCSD instructional coach Dawn Flowers Thompson believes the district should take a different approach.

“I don’t want our children feeling more policed. Their lives are filled with police. If the officers are interested, then officers should come into the classrooms and build real relationships with the students,” Thompson said.