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Rochester police will monitor school arrivals, dismissals after Franklin High shooting

James Brown
Benjamin Franklin High School Campus

Rochester police will now be present for school arrivals and dismissals at some city schools.

This comes after a student narrowly avoided being killed at the front door of Benjamin Franklin campus on Thursday.

Surveillance footage leaked to 13-WHAM shows two students hurrying to get inside as a third student runs into the entranceway and braces against the door, chased by a man who fired at point-blank range and then fled. No one was injured.

Franklin campus went into lockdown and classes continued.

Initial statements from the city school district and Rochester Police Department indicated that the incident happened outside of the school but did not say the suspect had fired at point-blank range in the school’s entranceway.

Superintendent Carmine Peluso said on Friday that schools that will see increased police presence include Edison Tech, Wilson, Franklin, Northeast, and East High. The increased security may last throughout the rest of the school year.

“This team is committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff,” Peluso said. “We are very fortunate that no one was hurt and that our students remain safe throughout the day.”

School board president Cynthia Elliott said she and the board are not interested in reintroducing school resource officers to city schools since they were removed in 2020, but said they will look to prioritize school safety in the upcoming budget.

Elliott said incidents like these are all too common.

“Our families have learned how to live with the trauma, in spite of, and to continue their lives... do they need to have someone to talk to absolutely, but at the same time, you know, this is something that occurs in this community all the time,” Elliott said.

Teacher’s union president Adam Urbanski said in a statement that there is an urgent and immediate need for more security around campuses.

“I know that the Rochester Board of Education is opposed to having police presence at our schools - even at those with evidence of gun violence,” Urbanski said in a statement. “However, I think that the school board has a choice: they can either act now or they can wait until, God forbid, there’s a tragedy.”

In the last 2 years, about 80 minors have been shot in the city. Multiple city students have been killed including Bryson Simpson (17), Zahira Smith (16), Jeremiah Baker (17), Jaquise Davis (16), and 12-year-old Juan Lopez.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.