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Westchester School Brings In Safety Specialist After Violent Incidents

Jonathan Brice.
Jonathan Brice. Photo Credit: New Rochelle School District

Following a spate of violent incidents involving New Rochelle High School students, the Board of Education has made good on its promise to appoint an official in charge of a Safety Task Force.

The district announced that they have appointed veteran educator Jonathan Brice to helm the independent Task Force on Reducing Violence in the Lives of Children and Youth that the Board is establishing in conjunction with the city.

Brice’s appointment came on the heels of several violent incidents involving students, including the fatal stabbing of Schwab, a 16-year-old junior at the high school whose last moments alive show her being harassed by a group of seven people, including Z’inah Brown, who is facing a second-degree murder charge for the fatal stabbing.

The manhunt for a teenage suspect who stabbed a fellow student in the torso on Jan. 18 continues, as the suspect remains elusive, New Rochelle Police Capt. Robert Gazzola said, noting that “due to the suspect’s age, and after consultation with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, we are prohibited by law from identifying him.”

Brice comes to New Rochelle with 25 years’ experience, including time with the U.S. Department of Education. He has been a school administrator in six large districts and currently serves as  the Associate Superintendent for Student and Family Support and Engagement for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland.

“Brice’s background makes him uniquely suited to take on this important role,” Board of Education President Rachel Relkin said. “With his appointment, the Task Force is well-positioned to fulfill its mission to reduce violence among youth in New Rochelle and make our community a better place for every student.”

School officials said that the Task Force will be established in the coming days and is expected to consist of approximately 25 to 30 members. The Task Force will bring together the city, social services, non-profit and faith-based organizations, law enforcement, community members, and the schools, including students. While some positions must be reserved for specific designees from various agencies, several seats will be filled from among applicants in the community.

“We’re looking for volunteers who are willing to make the commitment and are passionate about reducing youth violence in New Rochelle,” Relkin said. Those interested in joining the Task Force can do so online.

In a statement, Brice said that “I am pleased to work with the New Rochelle community to listen, learn, and develop recommendations that will add to the Board of Education options to improve supports for students.”

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