By Staff –
(Update, April 2) – New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and New York Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa will visit Rochester to meet privately with each member of the Rochester City School District Board of Education on April 3, according to an unconfirmed report in the Democrat and Chronicle.
The move comes after Elia and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently launched a civil investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of 14-year-old RCSD student Treyvan Rowe.
Rowe’s body was found in the Genesee River last month, after the autistic teen failed to show up at school when he got off the bus on March 8.
As part of the investigation, the agencies will review the district’s policies, procedures, and protocols, in an effort to determine what improvements need to be made to ensure the safety of all students going forward, the state said.
NYSED has also recently appointed “distinguished educator” Kenneth Eastwood to work alongside RCSD superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams, as part of a state mandate.
“The appointment of Ken Eastwood as a Distinguished Educator underscores the commitment of the Board of Regents and the State Education Department to partner with the Rochester community to create a new, brighter future for our RCSD students,” Elia said in a statement. “Dr. Eastwood will help Superintendent Deane-Williams, the school board, and the district develop and implement plans to address fiscal, operational, and instructional challenges faced by the district.”
RCSD has also implemented new attendance policies for the district, including the regulation that instructors must take attendance within the first 15 minutes of class.
Subsequently, if a student is absent, a robocall will notify parents if their child is not in school within the first hour of the school day.
Schools will also make personal phone calls to parents if they miss the automated calls, the district said, and send designated officials to visit students’ homes, in a further attempt to notify parents of any student absences.
(From March 19) – New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia have launched a civil investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Treyvan Rowe, Schneiderman’s office said.
As part of the investigation, the agencies will review the Rochester City School District’s policies, procedures, and protocols in an effort to determine what improvements need to be made to ensure the safety of all students going forward.
“Treyvan Rowe’s death was a tragedy,” Schneiderman said in a press release. “His family deserves answers – and all Rochester families deserve to know that their children will be safe at school. We’re partnering with the state education department to get to the bottom of what happened and ensure the district’s policies protect our children moving forward.”
In addition, “Any time there is a tragic loss of a child, we must look for answers to determine what events and procedures allowed for such a heartbreaking incident to occur,” Elia added. “Once we know all the facts, it is imperative, as state and local leaders, that we come together to make the changes needed to prevent the loss of lives so young. I thank Attorney General Schneiderman and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle for remaining steadfast in their support of Rochester’s students and schools.”
NYSED staff from the Offices of School Operations and Management Services; Student Support Services and Special Education; the Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center; and the District Superintendents Daniel White and Jo Anne Antonucci of the Monroe 1 and 2 BOCES will work with investigators from the attorney general’s office to review the district’s policies and procedures.
The investigation will be handled by the Attorney General’s Rochester Regional Office and Civil Rights Bureau; the state will also work with local authorities as they continue to review the incident.
Rowe’s body was found in the Genesee River recently, after the autistic 14-year-old failed to show up at school when he got off the bus on March 8.