ROCHESTER, N.Y. — All nine of the parents who addressed the Rochester City School District school board Tuesday asked the district to not allow the Rochester Police Department back into schools as school resource officers.
This came after the Rochester Teacher Association sent a letter to the district saying its teachers felt unsafe.
“Our youth have told us time and again that law enforcement officers do not make them feel safer in school,” said Aria Lind of Rochester. “I am telling you, yesterday, today, tomorrow, I do not want sworn law enforcement officers in my children’s schools.”
Instead, parents say the district should use funding to bring back restorative justice programs and invest in social work.
“[They need to] fully fund the 130 social worker positions that were moved last year,” said Ethan Win of Rochester. “They all need to be reinstated before we even talk about SROs, which we should not be doing for clear reasons.”
But RCSD School Board President Van White says the discussion needs to be more broad than whether or not police should return to schools.
“We need to understand everybody has to be part of the solution,” White said. “Not just police officers, to some extent, but also we need mental health providers. We need preachers. We need teachers, [and] principals. We need corporations to give people jobs.”
White says the district is meeting with city hall representatives on Wednesday, and that a community forum on the issue is being planned tentatively for Saturday.