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Would Parents on Patrol Help Keep Schools Calm?

Patti Singer

Having parents in the city’s middle and high schools a few hours each day is one idea to try to quell violent and disruptive behavior.

“Students are really excited that their parents are able to do this,” said Mike Johnson, Save Rochester organizer who along with other groups is hosting several anti-violence events. The discussion on a parental presence in schools is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at 140 E. Main St.

“Parents want to do this,” Johnson said. “It’s just a matter of logistics. So I don’t think there’s going to be any problem with securing a few parents.”

Bringing moms and dads into schools is one of the three initiatives Johnson announced during a news conference Oct. 26. The other two are:

  • Gun violence forum with David Smith, interim chief of the Rochester Police Department, former Mayor Bill Johnson and RPD community liaison officer Moses Robinson, 3:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 1, the Mercantile at 240 E. Main St.
  • Children’s events over Halloween weekend in conjunction with Exercise Express, Roc the Peace, First Genesis Baptist Church, Community Justice Initiative and Brothers and Sisters Unisex Salon.

Johnson said all three are related and are collaborations among several community groups. “We’re trying to spearhead initiatives that keeps kids safe and keep our community safe.”

Bringing in parents to patrol the corridors is patterned after Dads on Duty, a group of fathers who spend time at a Louisiana high school that had seen violent outbursts. Johnson said the concept has been discussed behind the scenes in Rochester.

He acknowledged challenges, such as background checks and having enough parents to sustain the program.

Johnson said some parents who have flexible hours or who have not returned to pre-pandemic employment may be candidates to come to the school buildings.

“We don’t have a clear indication of how long we’re going to see this trend,” Johnson said of the violent incidents in schools. “But I think people are in a position where they can make it happen if they have an interest.”

The other events coming from different directions to seek solutions to violence.

At the gun forum, Smith is expected to present his strategy through the end of the year, and questions from attendees are welcome. The forum will be followed by an election eve event from 5 to 7:30 p.m. designed to encourage voters to go to the polls on Election Day.

Johnson said the Halloween events are designed to give kids a safe place to have fun:

  • After-school trunk or treat from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at 200 West Ave.
  • Harvest fest from 3 to 6 p.m. at 25 Driving Park
  • 6th annual trunk or treat from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 30 at 292 Hudson Ave.
  • Trick or treat from 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31 at 1274 Dewey Ave.