Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Rochester Teens Facing More Violence

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Rochester: Rochester Teens Facing More Violence
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In the last two days, three Rochester teenagers have been arraigned on murder charges. Many educators, along with community leaders, say too many young people are falling through the cracks and falling prey to violence.

YNN's Mary McCombs takes a look at the recent tragic events in our community.

These scenes are becoming all too familiar on the streets of Rochester: makeshift memorials marking the scene of a crime, teenagers dying and teenagers under arrest for murder.

Often times, these teens are students, or former students in the city school district, who have undergone special instruction programs for troubled youth.

"They get in trouble in the street and the outcome is very sad," Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said. "Some lose their lives, some end up in prison and that is not the kind of outcomes that we want for our children."

The superintendent sent a letter home to parents Wednesday following a homicide on Genesee Street where the victim and the suspect were former students, both of them 18. In the letter, Dr. Vargas urged parents and families to address the problem of youth violence both inside and outside our schools."

"We could change Rochester to be a community where we are known for doing an excellent job in raising our children," Vargas said. "That begins by helping our children attend school every day. Attendance is extremely important. Number two, respect each other, respect adults."

As Mayor Tom Richards prepares to finish out his term in office, he says the police cannot act alone, and the community needs to intervene and invest in young people.

"We have to get into a situation where something happens with respect to these young men before they face each other with guns," Mayor Tom Richards said. "Once that happens, it's too late."

Mayor Richards says there is a bright spot: police are getting help from people and solving recent crimes quicker.

"People come forward," Richards said. "They come forward for two reasons: one, because they think something will happen, someone will do something with the information and second of all, they're sick of it. They're sick of putting up with it in their neighborhood."

The district, too, says it's tired of watching students and former students being led away from crime scenes, either by ambulance or a cop car.

"Tell our students there is hope," Vargas said. "There is a better way than harming one another." ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP