‘Time to act is now’: RCSD unions call for safety changes

RCSD

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Four union leaders who represent Rochester City School District employees co-wrote a letter to Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small and Board of Education President Henri Van White to call for changes to make the district safer.

Writing on behalf of RCSD employees, BENTE President Dan DiClemente, RAP President Angelina Rivera, ASAR President John Rowe, and RTA President Adam Urbanski wrote that under current circumstances, building administrators don’t have the “ability, staff, or resources” to crease safe school environments.

“This bad situation will only get worse if we do nothing to address and ameliorate it,” the union leaders wrote.

The union leaders say, at a time of pandemic-related challenges, safety concerns are being exacerbated by “rapidly deteriorating conditions for order and school safety.”

The union leaders are calling on the district to immediately implement measures aimed at promoting a more safe school environment. Such measures include:

  • Develop a plan that will allow schools to offer evening sessions for those secondary students who are disrupting the education process during the normal school day.
  • Invest in additional social and emotional support services for students.
  • Increase the number of school safety officers.
  • Allow schools to offer remote learning options for students who aren’t ready to learn at school.
  • Revisit the need for SRO’s to be placed back in high schools “ASAP.”
  • Work with RPD to address the gang activities at some of our schools and have them onsite during arrival and dismissal times at all high schools.
  • Revisit and update the Code of Conduct based on the “new” behavioral norms currently being seen within the school setting.
  • Assign additional services and resources to schools that are in high need.
  • Reduce class sizes to better accommodate the education, social, and emotional needs of students.
  • Insist on faithful adherence to all COVID-19 safety protocols including social distancing and proper wearing of masks.
  • Negotiate recruitment and retention incentives for employees of BENTE, RAP< and RTA to assist with the “significant” staffing shortages.

“We are asking that the district meet with us as soon as possible and not wait until the unsafe conditions at our schools deteriorate further,” the letter said in part. “The time to act is now, not after a tragedy occurs.”


Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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