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Changes Made Following Violent Incidents Involving Westchester Students

There has been an increased police presence outside New Rochelle High School.
There has been an increased police presence outside New Rochelle High School. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - In the wake of several violent stabbing incidents involving New Rochelle High School students and a community-wide safety meeting, the school district has outlined new measures and initiatives that will be taken to ensure “all district schools are safe, nurturing places for students to learn and thrive.”

A “standing room only” crowd of parents, local residents, city and school officials was in attendance Tuesday night at the high school following the three stabbing incidents, including the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Valaree Schwab on Jan. 10 outside Dunkin’ Donuts on North Avenue.

In response, New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Brian Osborne announced that an independent audit has been commissioned by the Board of Education and a task force is being established to “conduct comprehensive examinations of all policies and practices surrounding safety and security.”

The city has also proposed the creation of a new Executive Director of Security position in the district. The appointee would “be a widely respected security expert who would be empowered to supersede school officials and assume command if an incident should occur.”

Osborne also noted that the increased uniformed police presence outside the high school will continue, and counselors and other professionals will be available for students. The superintendent also announced that after initially ordering the searches of random students “during a time of heightened security,” though those ended on Tuesday.

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said that "beyond these immediate steps, as we move forward, the Board of Education will initiate an independent security audit, and the School District, along with City and community representatives, will undertake an independently-led, top-to-bottom review of policies, practices, and procedures related to student safety."

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