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Genesee Street Shooting Highlights Trauma Suffered by Young Witnesses Kersey

The start of school is a couple of weeks away, but counselors in the Rochester School District are already trying to help students who are experiencing trauma because of the violence around them.

The drive-by shooting of 7 people on Genesee Street last week highlights concerns about the amount of violence kids are exposed to, but the issue is not new to counselors in city schools.

"We were on the scene as soon as we found out (at the Boys and Girls Club), and at some of the prayer vigils connected with community partners, with some of our students, " said Ruth Turner, director of school counseling and social work for the district.

She says about 68 percent of students in the Rochester School district have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.

Many of them say they feel safer at school than they do out in the community.

"And once school is ending, there is a lot of anxiety they may voice to the school counselor or social worker about going home, or on the ride home - a sense of not feeling safe in the community. So, we work with students on a safety plan, but also with the police department and any community partners to help lessen that anxiety," Turner said.

There is now a full-time social worker in each school building within the Rochester School district.  Even though the need is great, Turner says they're better able to help students now than they were five years ago.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.