Monday, September 01, 2014

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Rochester

City Councilman Wants Action Taken to Stop Downtown Fights

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Rochester: City Councilman Wants Action Taken to Stop Downtown Fights
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Police continue to search for a suspect they say fired shots after a large fight at the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester Monday afternoon.

Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden is calling on the City School District to try and come up with a solution to try and stop the fights happening downtown.

McFadden says he's worried it might take someone actually getting killed before everyone sits down and addresses this issue again.

Rochester police say around 3:30 Monday afternoon, police were on scene trying to break up a fight when they heard shots fired. They began searching for the suspect who took off running.

McFadden says he was downtown and helped one boy who was on the ground in a bus lane being kicked by other teens. He says those involved were all Rochester City School District students.

A couple of years ago the City School District changed the transportation system, creating direct routes from schools to neighborhoods, eliminating a need for many students to transfer buses downtown. McFadden doesn't know if that system is still in place or working at all, because the students seem to be back congregating downtown.

"I think they need to go back and examine how many kids are really coming downtown with the bus passes, and examine who really needs to come downtown to transfer and who doesn't. We shouldn't pay for kids who don't need to transfer when they can get a direct route into their neighborhood," said McFadden. "The other thing is we should probably go back to neighborhood schooling and look at why we made this decision in the first place. At one time we changed to this zoning system because they said the failing schools, we didn't want them to go to those. We wanted them to have a choice to go to schools that weren't failing. But now all the schools are pretty much in the same boat. So, why wouldn't we re-examine the issue and keep kids in their neighborhood instead of spending time transferring them."

McFadden says he's not blaming the district but says it has to be part of the solution. McFadden says he's called and asked for meetings with Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, Rochester Police Chief Jim Sheppard and School Board President Malik Evans.

The Rochester City School District released a statement saying, "Police are still investigating the discharge of a firearm near the Liberty Pole yesterday, and we have no indication of whether a city school student was involved. The District works closely with RPD to deal appropriately with students who engage in violent behavior, whether it occurs during school or after hours. We also work with city government and community agencies on programs to increase school attendance, engage students in a longer school day, and transport children using express bus routes instead of transferring downtown. The District will continue working with city officials and the police department to determine whether additional steps are needed to reduce the potential for inappropriate behavior by students outside of school."

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