Thank you to everyone who attended our Jan. 23 safety and security public information session to share views on the vitally important topic of school safety and to hear how we are addressing the recent tragic events. We listened closely to all the comments and concerns expressed and assure you that the valuable input gathered at the meeting will guide us as we continue to adopt measures that hold the safety of our students as our top priority.
We announced new measures and initiatives at Tuesday’s meeting. Combined with steps already taken, we are confident they will help ensure that New Rochelle High School, and all district schools, are safe, nurturing places for students to learn and thrive.
These steps include:
- An independent audit being commissioned by the Board of Education and a Task Force, to be established by the Board, to conduct comprehensive examinations of all policies and practices surrounding safety and security. The task force will work in partnership with the City, and will examine school and city policies that directly or indirectly impact safety on and off school grounds.
- The proposed creation of a new Executive Director of Security position. This individual would be a widely respected security expert who would be empowered to supersede school officials and assume command if an incident should occur.
- The centralization of student registration, including a re-registration process requiring parents and guardians to re-affirm that their children are eligible for enrollment in the district’s schools at certain points in their school careers.
- The launch of an anonymous tips app that students will use to alert school officials of any bullying behaviors or brewing tensions so adults can intervene before violence occurs.
The following additional measures have been put in place to support the safety of high school students and staff, and will remain in effect until further notice:
- At the district’s request, uniformed police officers have been assigned to the primary access points around the school. In addition, a uniformed presence has been assigned to the school building.
- Police presence and visibility along North Avenue, south of New Rochelle High School, is being enhanced during hours when students tend to congregate or travel to and from school. This presence will augment a long-standing practice of assigning police resources to areas with a high concentration of student traffic.
- Access to New Rochelle High School will be strictly controlled and enforced.
- A strict enforcement of the high school’s closed campus policy, which prohibits students from leaving school grounds during lunch and free periods.
- Counselors and other professionals continue to work with students and staff who have been affected by the recent events and need to talk about them. We continue to partner with the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health to offer counseling and support services to our school community. The Westchester County Crisis Prevention Team hotline is available 24 hours at 914-925-5959.
I had initially ordered the searches of students selected randomly by computer but these were ended on Tuesday. This interim step was taken during a time of heightened security.
Thank you in advance for your support in making these measures successful. Your continued input is welcome and encouraged. Please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be assured that City School District of New Rochelle Board of Education and Administration place the safety of your children as our highest and most critically important priority. We will continue to communicate our efforts to you on this through ongoing communication and public meetings.
Our thoughts remain with the families and their friends, students, staff and anyone in the district affected by the recent tragic incidents.
Together, we are #NewRoStrong.
Dr. Brian G. Osborne
City School District of New Rochelle