RCSD participating in Gun Violence Awareness Day: ‘enough is enough’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — You may see people wearing orange this Friday. It’s all an effort to raise awareness for gun violence.

And for one district – it’s a special way to start a dialogue.

A few months ago, The Rochester City School District reported 6 deaths from September 2020 through April 2021 – were from gun violence. And — 13 RCSD students suffered injuries from gun violence –  January through April this year.

Superintendent Dr. Leslie Myers-Small says this has left a huge emotional toll on the district.

“Trauma impacts us either directly or indirectly while some of us not in the vicinity or nowhere near where it happened there’s vicarious trauma,” said Myers-Small.          

That’s why she’s encouraging students to wear orange for Gun Violence awareness day, to stand in solidarity with one another.

And not just today, but year-round.

“Sometimes it’s individualized, other times we work with an entire classroom,” she said.

Daniele Lyman-Torres works with those suffering trauma, as part of the city’s crisis response team. To help prevent more violence – she wants more resources on the street. That can mean meeting people where they are.

“Offering alternatives mediating conflicts,” she said.

An example of this, launching soon – it’s the Office of Neighborhood Safety.

City leaders say it will be a central hub of organizations – all aiming to reduce violence through mentorship, job readiness, and non-police responses.

“We talked about results with Richmond, California, with their Office of Neighborhood Safety in 2007, they were able to significantly reduce their homicide rate,” she said.

Myers-Small says the goal for her students – is to ensure they can feel safe in their house, or at school.

And anyone who doesn’t – needs all the compassion, care and love they can get right now.

The district has TIG teams – that stands for trauma, illness and grief – where trained professionals have been working with students through these experiences.

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