Concerns about violence near school
Updated: Tuesday, December 17 2013, 05:14 AM EST
Rochester, N.Y. - Teachers went to the Rochester City School District Board meeting Thursday night to voice their concerns over the dangers that surround their school at 200 Genesee Street.
“If that was the gauntlet that I had to run to get to school, I’d be scared too,” said Mary Courtney, a chemistry teacher at Rochester Early College International High School.
Over the last year, Courtney said that the level of violence in the community has increased and the overflow has started to spill onto school property.
“We have students who want to come to school and want to learn and it’s scary for them,” Courtney said, “they’re being assaulted and injured just trying to into and out of the building.”
Fearful of her and her students’ safety, Courtney started a petition to ask for police protection on and around school property. “We don’t think it’s fair for our students to have to live this way and be scared to get to school.”
With the signatures of school teachers and staff, Courtney took the petition to district administrators last week. Teachers said they were told there would be an increase in police patrols but Courtney said nothing was done.
“A few of us were in the hallway discussing it when a security guard came running down the hall yelling to call 911 to the bus loop,” she said.
Courtney said one of her students was attacked at the bus stop Monday afternoon— five days after Courtney said she handed the petition over to the Rochester City School District.
“He was jumped to have his cell phone stolen and three people beat him, beat his face severely,” Courtney said the boy was beaten beyond recognition and is still out of school.
"One of our other students was there with him and she screamed and screamed for help and no one would come to help,” Courtney said.
On Tuesday, the day after the boy was jumped, RCSD temporarily moved district security guards over to the school.
Director of safety and security for RCSD, Lori Baldwin said, “We have used our resources and place some extra security both in the morning and in the afternoon in the employee parking lot and bus loop.”
Courtney said teachers have been told that the extra guards will be stationed at the school until Thanksgiving break.
“We are looking to use resources when we have them,” Baldwin said there is only so much the district can do. “The community is something beyond our boundaries but we’re obviously concerned and we want to work with everyone to keep our kids safe.”
Baldwin said she has met with police and RPD has been “responsive” but Baldwin could not say exactly what officers plan to do.
Courtney said if something is not done soon, she doesn’t know how the district will keep students safe and in school. “The boy who was beat up on Monday, I don’t know if he’ll come back to school,” Courtney said, “I don’t know if I would—it’s frightening.”