The following letter, with accompanying infographic, was sent to New Rochelle residents today by Board of Education President Rachel Relkin and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian G. Osborne.
Dear New Rochelle Parent or Guardian:
It was invaluable to hear from so many New Rochelle community members at last night’s Board of Education meeting in City Hall. We want to assure you that we heard your concerns and our responsibility is to respond quickly.
This input will be crucial as the City School District of New Rochelle and the City of New Rochelle begin a comprehensive review of District policies and practices that surround student safety and security.
We have already implemented the following additional measures to ensure the safety of students and staff in New Rochelle High School. Specifically:
• At our 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 itself.
• 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 resources to areas with a high concentration of student traffic.
• Access to New Rochelle High School will be strictly controlled and enforced.
• Random searches are being conducted of students entering the school.
• Counselors and other professionals continue to work with students and staff who have been affected by the recent events and who need to talk about them. The accompanying infographic from the National Association of School Psychologists has suggestions for parents and teachers about talking with children about violence. In addition, we are collaborating 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.
These measures will remain in effect until further notice. We recognize that this is only the beginning of the comprehensive response that is required. We will do everything we can to ensure that our solution-oriented review of policies and practices leads to concrete actions to ensure the safety of our students. We will keep you updated as these develop.
We know that many of you have questions and concerns because of the recent incidents. That was why the Board of Education changed the format of last night’s meeting – originally scheduled as a closed-door session – to allow parents and other members of the community to raise questions and make their voices heard.
We hope that you will also attend the informational session on safety and security that we will hold at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, in the Whitney M. Young Auditorium at New Rochelle High School, 265 Clove Road. While it was important for us to listen at last night’s meeting, we expect to have more information and some answers at the Tuesday meeting. We are also working to structure next week’s event in ways that maximize productive engagement and create opportunities for all of us to be part of the solution.
If you are unable to attend and would like to offer input to the School District, please email [email protected].
In the meantime, please be assured that we, the Board of Education and the Administration continue to hold the safety of your children as our most important priority.
New Rochelle Board of Education
Dr. Brian G. Osborne
City School District of New Rochelle