Safety Forum Scheduled Following New Rochelle Stabbing Incidents

A heavy turnout is expected inside the New Rochelle High School auditorium Tuesday night as the city hosts a safety forum following three violent incidents involving students in the past two weeks.

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

A “standing room only” crowd of parents, local residents, city and school officials are expected at 7 p.m. at Whitney M. Young Auditorium at the high school following the three stabbing incidents, including the fatal stabbing of junior Valaree Schwab on Jan. 10 outside Dunkin’ Donuts on North Avenue.

Following the fatal stabbing, a group of students assaulted a 15-year-old a week later at Gemelli’s Pizzeria, with one of the attackers suffering a laceration to his hand. The next day, the teen that was attacked allegedly stabbed another student twice, leading to an increased uniformed police presence at the school.

The 15-year-old suspect is still wanted by police. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, though his name has not been released.

Schools Superintendent Brian Osborne, School Board President Rachel Relkins and New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson are each expected to speak during the forum, which will include a time for public comment. Hundreds attended a school board meeting last week, which was made open to the public just hours before it was scheduled to begin.

“We will look comprehensively on all policies that may or may not have had a bearing on what has occurred,” Bramson said last week. “We’re not pre-judging the outcome of (the review). We want to look carefully at the landscape in its totality and make sure any measures we take are based in research, fact and data.”

Bramson called the past two weeks “a devastating period of days for New Rochelle.”

“For all of us, and for me as a parent of young children, we are all deeply concerned (with recent events), and that’s why it’s incumbent to come together and examine this question as comprehensively as we can, and to take any steps that we can to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

“All of us are facing fear, or recognize that others are facing fear, but we should recognize that a school district and community is not defined by any single incident or cluster of incidents. They’re shaped by contact with thousands of other people each day. By any objective measure, we are a safe school district and city.

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