NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The City School District of New Rochelle continues to add safety and security measures, now aided by input from a community information meeting that filled the Whitney M. Young Jr. Auditorium in New Rochelle High School.
"I want to assure everyone that the valuable input we gathered will help guide the District as we continue to adopt measures that hold the safety of our students as our top priority," Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne said after the Tuesday meeting.
The community session and the new measures followed three violent incidents involving High School students this month.
Board of Education President Rachel Relkin announced at the meeting that the Board will hire a top-level security company to conduct a review of all practices and policies that affect school and student safety. The Board will also join with the city to establish a task force of School District and City officials, first-responders, parents, students and other community representatives. The task force will examine school and city policies that directly or indirectly impact safety on and off school grounds.
"A safe learning environment is essential to ensure that we fulfill our mission to prepare all students to be successful in college, career and beyond," Relkin said in the community meeting.
Among the safety and security measures in the works and under consideration, Osborne is proposing the creation of a new position, Executive Director of Security - an expert in the field of security who would be empowered to supersede school building officials and assume command if an incident should occur.
Student registration will be centralized for tighter controls on verifying the residency of new entrants. Also, a re-registration process will be in place by early next school year, requiring students to re-affirm their eligibility for District enrollment at certain points in their school careers.
High school students will gather on Monday in the Whitney M. Young Jr. Auditorium for assemblies about the new safety and security procedures under controlled access posture. Access to the school will be strictly controlled and students will be prohibited from leaving the school building for lunch and free periods. While in this posture, students will not have access to the fields or exterior areas of the campus.
At Osborne's request, the security guards had conducted searches of some students entering school chosen by a computerized random selection process. Those searches were halted this week.
The District is also planning to launch an app that will allow students to anonymously report bullying or other unacceptable behavior to appropriate personnel.
Relkin also announced a way that people can help if they feel they want to do something positive. Regional volunteer group Volunteer New York! has established a page for New Rochelle activities (www.volunteernewyork.org/newrochelle) to foster community togetherness.