Stop Re-Writing History on New Rochelle High School Closed Campus Policy

Written By: Robert Cox

I happened to hear today on Denise Ward’s radio show, Vince Malfetano once again making a claim that appears to be a self-serving re-writing of history. I have heard this on Bob Marrone’s show too. And Malfetano is not alone.

Vince Malfetano and Peggy Godfrey go on WVOX radio or stand up at school boards and claim THEY warned the school board, over and over, at public meetings, about the failure of former New Rochelle High School Principal Reggie Richardson to enforce Board Policy 5520 (closed campus) prior to the death of Valaree Schwab. I do not believe this to be the case.

I am willing to be shown I am in error. The good news for Vince and Peggy is that every remark they have made to the school board in public meetings since Reggie Richardson was hired is on video on the District web site. A single citation from a single meeting would help correct my error.

No one can stop anyone from saying things that are not true but WVOX radio show hosts do not have to let false statements go unchallenged. I hope next time they might ask Vince or Peggy to provide specific, verifiable citations of when and where they ever issued warnings about 5520.

To my recollection no one in New Rochelle was raising the issue of 5520 (Closed Campus) until I raised it publicly on October 3, 2017:

Enough is Enough: Time to Enforce School Board’s Closed Campus Policy at New Rochelle High School – Part I

I was at the high school at the lunch hour two year earlier when Reggie Richardson stopped enforcing 5520 and 500+ kids streamed out. This occurred in the Fall of 2015.

I live close to the high school and walk around the high school and through Huguenot Park several times a day. I work from home and routinely buy lunch or get coffee along North Avenue between Eastchester and Summit (North Ave Deli, Chicken Joe’s, Gemelli’s, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc).

Because I am there throughout the day, every day, I know exactly what went on, who was there, who was not there. I never once saw Vince and Peggy in that area – ever. That makes sense because they live down by the New Rochelle Marina and would have no particular reason to be in the area at all let alone on a frequent basis. Peggy likes to talk about the McDonalds near the high school. I know Peggy has hung out for years with her friends at McDonalds. The problem is the McDonalds she frequents is the one on East Main Street a few blocks from her home not the one by the high school a few miles away from her home.

From 2015 to 2017, I had raised the 5520 issue privately with a wide range of school officials, city officials and police officials. I was (and still am) a member of the District-Wide Healthy and Safety Committee. I had hoped to avoid the need to go public with my concerns. I warned over and over that the situation was out of control and that someone was going to be seriously injured or killed. When these warnings were ignored over a two year period, I then published my “Enough is Enough” article on October 3rd, 2017. I then documented the violence, drug use and misbehavior by publishing photos and videos on Facebook and Twitter (for which I was viciously attacked on social media). I do not recall anyone else doing anything like this. It was just me and I was subject to a great deal of abuse for doing it.

On the morning of January 10, 2018, I was with police covering a school bus crash on Clove Road between Mayflower and Eastchester when a call came over the police radio of a stabbing in broad daylight at the Dunkin’ Donuts at North and Mayflower, just a few blocks away. I rushed over. I was the first media on scene. I was the first to report that Valaree Schwab had died. I was at the police presser and the Mayor’s presser the next day. I was at the New Rochelle City Court when Z’inah Brown was arraigned — where about 200 students had left the high school in the middle of the school day to attend. I left the courthouse soon after and came across the police response to the assault of Bryan Stamps at Gemellis which involved students walking back from the arraignment. I was the first media on scene. I broke the story. The next day I heard the ambulance heading to the high school and ran over there; I got there as Bryan Stamps’ stabbing victim was taken away by paramedics, I was the first media on scene. I broke the story of the stabbing.

I might add the school board members also made claims after the murder of Valaree Schwab that they had held meetings on 5520 after my October 3rd, 2017 article but before the murder on January 10, 2018. I made a Freedom of Information request. I was told there were no records of such meetings.

Sharp-eyed readers may notice my October 3rd, 2017 article was entitled “Part I”. I was in the process of completing Part II when the murder took place which is why I had such a detailed article on 5520 ready soon after the violence that occurred in January 2018. If you read that article you will see that Reggie Richardson and Brian Osborne repeatedly lied, claiming 5520 had not been enforced for many years. These lies have never been corrected.

The First Step to Begin Restoring Trust in New Rochelle School System is to Come Clean on the Supposed Open Campus Practice

Having put in a great deal of effort on all this, maybe readers can understand why I do not appreciate WVOX being used as a platform for other people to take credit for my effort – or why I resent board members and school administrators lying in an effort to cover up their failures.

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