Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn
I am not the most supportive person of the Rochester City School District (RCSD), as I believe they have not been fulfilling their primary obligation to the Rochester community, and its young people, in particular. The graduation rate, and how the district has been run, are indicative of its inability to make real change occur. I do, however, appreciate the work of the school board president, Van White. I believe he wants to see change, and has been working to make that happen. As a result, while I’m not a huge fan of the RCSD, I do want to give them kudos in my column this week.
These words of praise follow the RCSD decision to finally alter the manner in which young people have been routed on RTS buses through downtown. The need for this change has stemmed from the many altercations that have happened amongst young people in the transit center, during the times they have been bused from school to home, via transfers at the station.
This community spent a lot of money to build the transportation center. I think it has been a very nice concept, a very nice idea, and a very nice facility. However, with the many fights that have happened there, that niceness has been threatened, and the center has had the potential of going the way of the Irondequoit mall. The mall was one that had been a nice facility, but neglected the safety of its patrons, and, therefore, had not been able to sustain its presence.
Similarly, I think the downtown bus terminal is a very nice facility, but if people do not feel safe, this terminal will not succeed, no matter how nice it is.
And, I am not sure who had the “bright” idea to have hundreds of young people transfer through downtown, first at Main St. and, now, at the bus terminal, however; it was not a good idea. Young people will do what young people do, and, when they congregate in masses, altercations may happen.
Additionally, it has not been a “race thing,” it has been a “youth thing.”
Young people do not always exercise the best judgment, and, that reality can lead to problems when many young people congregate in one area. And, while there has been a police presence at the bus station, fights still have broken out, and folks have not felt safe.
Consequently, the new plan has been to change the routes of some of the RTS buses which have been transporting these students, and to have them taken from school, directly to the neighborhoods in which they live. I think this is a good idea, in that it will help eliminate the congestion of young people at the station, and help the young folks get home earlier.
I also think this is an idea which should have been implemented much sooner. However, instead of dwelling in the past, I am grateful a solution has been adopted, and I expect we will see changes occurring at the bus station. Rochester has some nice venues, and we need to collectively put our heads together, in order to make sure people feel safe when going to these places. In doing so, I believe we will help aid in the culture of this community, and it is something which will be good for all of us.
Therefore, I do give praise to the RCSD for working with RTS in order to alleviate the number of young people transferring through downtown, and thereby reducing the likelihood of altercations which may threaten the safety of others who utilize the bus station.
RCSD, it took a while to get to this place, however, as the saying goes, “better late than never!”
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