The Rochester City School District responded Tuesday to a scathing report from the state that takes aim at policies and practices. The report, released by the New York State Attorney General's office, was in regard to their investigation into the death of Trevyan Rowe, a Rochester teen who died one year ago.
Rowe's body was retrieved from the Genesee River on March 12, 2018 — five days after he originally went missing during a school day. Rowe, a 14-year-old autistic student, was last seen leaving School No. 12, of the Rochester City School District. His family said they did not know he was missing until he did not get off the bus with his sister later in the day.
While the AG's report said, "The investigation found that systemic failures in school policies and procedures existed" at School No. 12, the report ultimately concluded, "Trevyan's death does not appear to have been the result of any single event or single failure in school policy."
School administrators say changes were immediately put in place following the teen's death, with the goal keeping their students safe and being in better communication with the parents.
Ten employees have been hired to the office team, trained extensively and charged with tracking students and making daily absent calls. Attendance is also required to be taken within the first 15 minutes of the school day and each class.
Homes of students who are chronically absent eventually get home visits. They're also linked with resources like a food pantry, transportation or mental health services to get the student back in class.
"'Every Student, By Face and Name, Every Day, Every Classroom, To and Through Graduation' is not just a slogan we use. We want eyeballs on the kids," said Chief of Schools, Dr. Idonia Owens. "We want to make sure the kids know they’re being seen, and that they feel there are adults in the building that are watching them and that do care about them.”
In January, the district averaged 8,300 phone calls and about 1,000 home visits.
The district is also using a new system called Crisis Go, which immediately notifies police and administration when a student wanders off or goes missing.