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Something to Think About: After Treyvan Rowe, Where Do We Go From Here?

Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn –


new michael vaughnAs I write this column, we have learned that the Monroe County medical examiner positively identified a body that was pulled from the Genesee River as 14 year-old Trevyan Rowe.

Treyvan had been missing for several days, and the news was surely not what anyone wanted to hear.

Teams of people had come out to search for the young man, as the story about him and his disappearance spread.

However, now that we know the sad outcome, the question we need to ask is, “Where do we go from here?”

I can understand that there are many emotions surrounding this tragic set of circumstances, which has ultimately led to a family losing their loved one.

However, in order to properly remember this young man in a way that would be most fitting for him, we must ensure that our emotions do not cause any division that would be opposed to the unity his initial disappearance has brought about.

For example, I have seen some posts on Facebook blaming the Rochester City School District (RCSD) for this tragedy.

I am not saying the district doesn’t need to be held accountable, however I do not believe that this is the time to start throwing these types of stones.

Instead, I would recommend the first thing we do is to stand by the family, which is dealing with the loss of their loved one.

We must pray for them through this time, so that they can be properly set on the path of healing, in the future.

And, as we pray, we can remember the life of this young man proudly.

Many of us did not know him; however, through the tragedy of his disappearance, he brought unity to this community at a time when there has been much division in our society.

I am sure those who knew him would attest to the fact that he was a fine young man who brought happiness into the lives of those who came into contact with him.

Then, after we’ve ensured that the family is being supported, we can discuss the various investigations into how this young man was able to walk away from his school after being dropped off at the building.

As we await the outcome of the investigation, we must also remember that no one involved in this tragedy likely had any bad intentions.

I’m saying this because, while it may be easy to blame others, it may not be the right thing to do.

At their core, I believe the majority of people are good, and that they do not want to hurt anyone.

Therefore, I also believe we should move forward from here with that philosophy as our foundation.

Remember, RCSD has 10’s of thousands of students who are being moved about on a daily basis, and, the vast majority of that time, the movement takes place without any incident!

However, unfortunately, and tragically, the movement of this student, in this situation, has ended up with the loss of life.

So, our policies, processes and practices need to be reviewed, and where they can be tightened up, they should be.

Yet, we need to make sure that we recognize the daunting tasks RCSD staff members execute daily, and in a nearly flawless manner.

It would be unfortunate if our impatience did not allow the investigation to run its course, and that decision resulted in an erroneous judgment.

What happened to Treyvan was horrible, and there is no one who would say otherwise.

Therefore, I believe our next action should be to discuss where we go from here.

We must honor the memory of Trevyan; support this family in prayer and encouragement; and give the RCSD the benefit of the doubt, until the investigation runs its course.

I believe that this is the best way to go forward, and it is my prayer that we, as a community, can agree, and move forward accordingly.

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(Michael Vaughn currently serves as senior pastor at New Wineskin Church in Rochester.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of the Minority Reporter.)