NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The Task Force on Reducing Violence in the Lives of Children and Youth in New Rochelle has completed its work and released a report detailing its 22 recommendations for creating a stronger sense of well-being among children and youth in the New Rochelle community. The recommendations cover four areas: the City School District of New Rochelle; New Rochelle High School; the City of New Rochelle; and Community Resources. Of the 22 recommendations included in its report, the Task Force suggests updates to School District policies and school code of conduct.
“The real power in the recommendations lies in a collaborative approach to implementing the strategies across organizations throughout the community,” said Dr. Jonathan Brice, Chair of the Task Force. “The presentation of the formal recommendations report will begin the broader discussion about how to support children and youth and prevent and address issues of violence they may experience in the New Rochelle community.”
The recommendations include creating a modified open campus for New Rochelle High School, an update of School District policies, an outline in the Student Code of Conduct showing when police involvement is required and an investment in more student-focused programming that includes diversion programs and peer mediation.
The recommendations also cover diverse topics such as social-emotional learning; training on health and wellness strategies such as mindfulness, restorative practices, implicit bias, and cultural competence; access for more students to higher-level courses; community-based mental health services; and youth engagement opportunities created by the City in conjunction with developers.
Task force members worked diligently to develop the report but found one recommendation difficult to reach accord: the assigning of an armed School Resource Officer to the high school. The final report does include a recommendation to hire an armed, trained SRO for the high school, with a memorandum of understanding that clarifies which types of actions are matters for administrators to handle and which will require police involvement.
“This is an important milestone for our community, and we on the Board of Education look forward to delving into the recommendations provided,” said New Rochelle Board of Education President Rachel Relkin earlier today in a letter to the community. “Thank you to Dr. Brice and the dozens of community members who shared valuable feedback, and those who devoted their time, knowledge, experience and dedication toward this vital project. I am grateful that we can all work together to continue building a community where our children and teenagers can feel secure, experience the joy of learning and grow into healthy young adults.”
The report, in its entirety, is available now for viewing and download at the City School District of New Rochelle website, www.nred.org.
Anyone interested in learning more about the recommendations may attend a public meeting on Wednesday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m., when Dr. Brice will formally present the report to the School District Board of Education in the New Rochelle City Council Chambers, located at City Hall, 515 North Ave.