In a joint statement released Thursday afternoon following the third stabbing incident reported near the high school in five days, city and school officials stated that “there is no higher priority than the safety of our children, and there is no asset of greater importance to New Rochelle than public confidence in our schools.”
According to police, at approximately 8:50 a.m. on Thursday, the department received a call from security guards at the high school reporting that a stabbing had occurred at the school, and a 15-year-old suspect was seen on video fleeing the building.
New Rochelle Police Capt. Robert Gazzola said that a 16-year-old student suffered two puncture wounds to his torso and has been transported to Jacobi Medical Center for treatment for what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. He deferred any further comment to the Board of Education.
Thursday’s incident comes a day after a teenage student suffered a lacerated hand during an altercation at a New Rochelle pizza place, and eight days after New Rochelle High School junior Valaree Schwab was fatally stabbed outside Dunkin’ Donuts on North Avenue during a separate incident.
In response, New Rochelle Board of Education President Rachel Relkin, Schools Superintendent Brian Osborne, Mayor Noam Bramson and City Manager Chuck Strome announced the implementation of new measures for the high school.
Officials said that uniformed police officers have been assigned to the primary access points surrounding the New Rochelle High School, and a uniformed presence will be assigned to the school building itself for an undisclosed amount of time.
There will also be an increased police presence and visibility on North Avenue south of New Rochelle High School, where the three violent incidents occurred. Officials said that the police presence “will be enhanced during hours when students tend to congregate or travel to and from school. This presence will augment a long-standing practice of assigning resources to areas with a high concentration of student traffic.”
Access to the high school will also be more strictly controlled and enforced moving forward. There will be a public forum hosted next week at the Whitney Young Auditorium at the New Rochelle High School at 7 p.m. on Tuesday next week to address the recent rash of violence.
“These incidents have also raised broader questions about security protocols and associated policies,” officials said in the statement. “We are, therefore, initiating a top-to-bottom, high-level review of all practices, procedures, and policies that may be directly or indirectly related to student safety. This review will build on and augment the ongoing coordination between city and school authorities.”
“Notwithstanding the difficulty and seriousness of this moment, we remain entirely confident of our community’s positive, safe, and bright future – and determined to individually and collectively do our parts to restore the trust and peace of mind that all parents and residents deserve.”
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