Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Police Chief Michael Ciminelli, city school district superintendent Linda Cimusz, and other local elected officials met at Enrico Fermi School No. 17, Feb. 26, to discuss school violence in the community.
The group sat in a circle, along with school leaders, and other community members, in an effort to take a restorative practices approach to solving the issue.
Each person passed a microphone from one individual to the next, and the attendees gave their opinions for fixing the problem in the district.
“Violence is a learned behavior,” Mayor Warren stated. “And, since it’s a learned behavior, they’re replicating. Our children are replicating something that they’ve seen, and they think that that’s okay. And so, we have to teach them how to deal with conflict in a way that is healthy.”
The group’s discussion centered around an incident in December, when a student at School 17, who had previously been suspended, returned the next day, and brandished a gun in front of another student.
The school reportedly called police, and no one was injured during the incident.
“We’re talking about generational violence,” Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden stated. “This isn’t new. These kids are learning this in their homes, or learning it in their neighborhoods. So, we have to draw a line about what we will tolerate.”
Officials at the forum said they vowed to continue working together to help solve the community issue.
“We will continue to work with the administrators in every school, to ensure every child is safe coming into school,” Warren stated.