NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Seventeen residents addressed the New Rochelle Task Force on Reducing Violence in the Lives of Children and Youth on Saturday, April 14, to offer suggestions and other input aimed at keeping the community and City School District of New Rochelle schools safe.
They spoke at a public meeting of the Task Force in New Rochelle City Hall. More than 70 residents attended, including many of the Task Force members.
Comments covered a range of topics, including restorative practices for responding to behavioral issues, the importance of vocational education and the need to find more ways for students across the district to interact at an early grade level.
“Let’s focus on building relationships in this city,” Aisha Cook, a teacher at Columbus Elementary School and first vice-president of the New Rochelle NAACP, told the Task Force.
“The input we received today offers us a lot of food for thought as we formulate our recommendations,” Task Force Chair Dr. Jonathan Brice said. “It’s a testament to the involvement of the New Rochelle community.”
The 46-member Task Force was established in early March to review policies and practices of the District and City, and to recommend measures to ensure that the schools and surrounding community are safe, nurturing places for the city’s children and young adults. The Task Force is expected to present the recommendations to the Board of Education in late April or early May.
To ensure a safe environment, Brice said, the recommendations must look beyond the schools to the community as a whole.
“In order for our youth to be really successful, they have to have access and opportunity to a host of community-based resources and supports,” he said.
“I feel the Task Force is responsive to the needs of the community,” said resident Gordon Hiland, who addressed the Task Force. “I feel they’re listening to our concerns.”