Rochester, NY — In response to the Rochester City School Board voting in favor of a resolution that will allow 11 police officers to be hired to patrol school grounds, Barbara Rivera, lead organizer at Citizen Action of New York and Stevie Vargas, upstate campaign coordinator at the Alliance for Quality Education, released the following joint statement:

“The thought that our school board members would rather hire more police than invest into our students’ emotional wellbeing is disheartening to say the least, but not shocking. We know police don’t help students learn or support their needs, but more teachers, programs and school counselors will. Board members claim they have our children’s best interest at heart, yet they chose to put little to no effort into addressing the emotional needs of students, who right now are experiencing the same pandemic we’re all experiencing. Just last year, the district made history by eliminating the use of School Resource Officers (SROs) in order to foster a better learning environment. By hiring 11 more police officers to reinstate SROs into our schools RCSB has chosen to create an environment that can lead to further traumatization for our children and jeopardize their well-being. Police do not create safety for all our students and community members.

“We are appalled at the inaccessible process used to inform this decision. All parents did not receive the survey and therefore we were denied the autonomy to determine what is best for our children. If our goal is to keep our children safe, we should prioritize making sure all students have what they need to succeed in school: democratic decision-making, adequate transportation to and from school, enough to eat when they are in school, and access to mental health support, restorative justice practices, and culturally aware education.”