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Mother of Trevyan Rowe Sues City, District and Others Over Her Son’s Death

Patti Singer

Trevyan Rowe died in March 2018
after walking away from School 12.
His mother in May 2019 sued
the Rochester City School District, the mayor and others.

The mother of Trevyan Rowe, the 14-year-old who walked away from School 12 on March 8th, 2018 and whose body was recovered three days later in the Genesee River, has sued the Rochester City School District, the school board, Mayor Lovely Warren and others.

Carrie Houston filed the claim May 31, according to a copy of the lawsuit that was posted on the Democrat and Chronicle website.

Houston is seeking “damages and other applicable relief against Defendants for the loss of guidance, support, love, solace, affection, companionship and household services of Decedent, caused by the negligence of Defendants.” No dollar amount was listed.

“As of now, the Defendants have not offered any monetary compensation to Ms. Houston or the Estate,” attorney Zijian “Coco” Guan of Brown LLC, wrote on June 5th in response to a question about next steps in the case. “We do not expect any resolution that could be reached in the foreseeable future.”

Brown LLC, in Huntington, represents clients bringing cases of serious injury or wrongful death, as well as represents whistleblowers and plaintiffs in class action and bad product lawsuits.

City communications director Justin Roj issued a statement: “The City of Rochester anticipated the lawsuit from the family of Trevyan Rowe. This tragedy inspires us to continue to stand up for each and every child in the city of Rochester, to create a system where they have equal access to a quality education, and a fighting chance at life.”

The lawsuit alleged that Trevyan’s “tragic death was caused by Defendants’ systemic failures and compounded by their lies and cover-up.” The suit claims that the school district and other defendants “failed Trevyan and his family every step of the way,” including failing to tell his mother when he was absent and impeding investigation by police.

The lawsuit said that while the defendants have publicly apologized to Houston and admitted their failures, “privately they have subjected the Decedent’s mother to multiple depositions and have refused to offer the family anything more than words.”

The lawsuit stated that “Defendants must be held accountable for their admitted failures that led to the tragic death of Trevyan … for the sake of the children who still walk the halls of the schools of Rochester. Until there is a radical shift in the way that those who watch our children exercise their responsibility, in the procedures the Defendants use to deal with emergent situations, and indeed in the way that Defendants value human life, all schoolchildren in Rochester are at risk.”

The lawsuit also named School 12, school board president Van Henri White, then-superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams, First Student, Inc., Rochester police and fire departments and the emergency communications department, School 12 principal Jennifer Gkourlias and interim principal Bridgitte Griffin.

The lawsuit listed more than a dozen points where it claimed the district was “careless, reckless and/or negligent under the circumstances” and several points where it claims First Student acted in the same manner. The lawsuit included the state Attorney General and Education Department report on their investigation into Trevyan’s death.

This story was updated June 5 with comments from the attorney for Carrie Houston.