Task Force on Reducing Violence in the Lives of Children and Youth

Purpose


The Board of Education – in partnership with City officials and representatives from the broader New Rochelle community – has initiated the Task Force on Reducing Violence in the Lives of Children and Youth to address ways to reduce violence in the lives of children and youth. While the District and City are separate entities, we recognize that the complex challenges we face must be met by working together as a community. The purpose of the Task Force is to bring together the City, social services, non-profit and faith-based organizations, law enforcement, community members, and the schools to work together to raise New Rochelle children and youth free from the fear of violence.

Contact

The Task Force welcomes comments, suggestions and questions from the public. Contact the Task Force at:

ideas.nrtaskforce@gmail.com

Mission

To recommend specific actions to reduce violence in the lives of children and youth; to ensure a safe nurturing learning environment as the foundation for student success; and to strengthen public confidence in the safety of our schools and the surrounding community.

 

Guiding Principle

To fulfill the Task Force’s mission, the work of the Task Force is being organized and guided by an independent Task Force chair - Dr. Jonathan Brice.

 

Specific Recommended Tasks

  • Examine conditions, policies and practices that impact the safety of children and youth on and off school grounds, including but not limited to open/closed campus at New Rochelle High School; the security, culture and climate in school and community; police practices regarding families, children and youth; the availability of mental health services; and the capacity of social service agencies.


  • Examine broader patterns of the role of violence in the lives of children and youth – including how these patterns compare to similar communities across the state and country – in order to evaluate and understand trends and potential solutions to reduce childhood exposure to violence and to promote alternatives to violence for solving problems and conflicts.

  • Examine the coordination of the School District and City of New Rochelle in violence prevention and response to violent incidents involving students both on and off school grounds.

  • Consider information from relevant experts, as well as instructive models and examples from other communities, that may inform positive collective action in New Rochelle.


  • Identify opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of partnership among District, City, civic organizations and the broader community to promote the welfare and success of New Rochelle students and families.


  • Invite parents, students, educators, and other community leaders and stakeholders to provide input, share experiences, and offer suggestions that relate to school and neighborhood safety and overall student well-being.

  • Uphold the School District’s and City’s core commitment to an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming learning environment and broader community that respects the individual circumstances, challenges, and potential of every child.

  • Review and consider the implications of any public findings or recommendations emerging from the independent Safety and Security Audit being launched by the Board of Education, including identifying tensions and trade-offs implied in available choices.

 

Deliverable


Deliver a comprehensive report including: (1) specific and actionable recommendations related to the reduction of violence in the lives of New Rochelle children and youth; (2) a review and analysis both of recent incidents and broader trends; (3) recommendations for District and City entities, community partners, civic organizations, parents, and residents; (4) any other comments, records, exhibits, or observations that may help the group achieve its stated mission.

 

Members

Task Force members, grouped by the facet of the community they represent, are:

City of New Rochelle
New Rochelle City Council members Jared Rice and Al Tarantino, New Rochelle Youth Bureau Executive Director Kelly Johnson, New Rochelle Police Captain Robert Gazzola and New Rochelle Police Youth Officer Detective Terrence Fudge.

Schools staff
New Rochelle High School House II Principal Camille Thomas-Edwards, Secondary Schools Social Studies Chair Gustavo Barbosa, teachers Darren Gurney, Michael Lyons, Steve Newman, Brittnee Sabatino, teaching assistant Otilia Taylor-Tanner and social worker Angelica Guel, MSW.

Parents
Jeff Apotheker, PhD., Henry Ballesteros, Barbara D’Alois, Christopher Conroy, Adam Etkin, Robin Friedman, MSW, Jason Griffith, Andrea Harewood, LCSW-R, Susanne Kuligowski, Michael LePore, Adeel Mirza, Brad Navin, J. Luis Nunez, Melissa Panszi Riebe, LCSW, Wendy Portnoff, LCSW, Tamaris Princi, LMSW, New Rochelle Public Library Board member Yadira Ramos-Herbert, Nakea Reed, Kemesha Salmon, Wendell Sears, PTA Council President Emeritus Suyen Taylor, Willeatha Taylor-Labate, MD, Yolanda Valencia.

New Rochelle High School students
Dylan Klein, Ever Mack, Francisco Maldonado, Andrew Sorota, and Mia Tammaro.

Community partners
Pastor DeQuincy Hentz, the Rev. Michelle Lewis, Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle Executive Director Lutonya Russell-Humes, Professor Alisse Waterston, New Rochelle NAACP President Dr. Carla H. Woolbright.

At least one Board of Education member will attend each meeting.

 

 

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