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District welcoming new In-House Counsel Royce Russell

District welcoming new In-House Counsel Royce Russell

The Mount Vernon City School District welcomes In-House Counsel Royce Russell. Mr. Russell is an attorney specializing in employment (wrongful termination and discrimination), contracts, and civil rights violations. He will work with all aspects of the District, including legal, policies and procedures, and daily operations. 

His years of experience as an arbitrator-mediator, in conjunction with his particular areas of practice, will allow him to assist the Human Resources Department. Mr. Russell’s role in the District will be as in-house counsel to ensure that the District follows proper procedures and protocols. He wants to give the District the tools to be transparent and accountable. His goal is to ensure that the community trusts the processes and procedures within the District.  

He will also work closely with the Board of Education and Dr. K. Veronica Smith, the Acting Superintendent of Schools, to provide legal services that improve the quality and compliance of the District’s operations.  

“Mr. Russell’s experience working in diverse settings will serve him well for the role, and he will provide knowledge and legal expertise that will benefit students, staff, and parents,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith. 

Mr. Russell worked in private practice as a partner for 18 years at Emdin & Russell, LLP. He manages a private practice as a criminal defense attorney who litigates cases in state and federal courts. He also represented victims of false arrest and police brutality. 

Before private practice, he worked at the Department of Justice, where he trained attorneys regarding deportable criminal offenses. He also litigated political asylum and family petition matters.  

He started his career in law at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. He served in the Homicide Bureau and was the liaison and head of the Bias Unit. He also served as Assistant District Attorney (ADA) under the first black-elected District Attorney in New York State. 

Mr. Russell co-founded the “Hoop Brothers” mentoring program in the Bronx in collaboration with the Legal Aid Society of New York City. They assisted at-risk high school students with their academics and athletics. Also, he is a published author of “Cardiac Arrest- A Tactical Guide on How to Handle Unlawful Police Stops and American Bar Association’s-Constitutional Policing.” 

He graduated from Fordham University and Hofstra University School of Law. 

“Ensuring that procedures and protocols are followed allows the District to operate with an understanding of the proper way to serve the community and its students,” said Mr. Russell. “I am grateful for this opportunity to assist in a legal capacity to ensure integrity and transparency under the leadership of Dr. Smith with the ultimate goal of success.” 

Two students posing at the camera.

Scholars and community members congregated to the cafeteria of the Mount Vernon High School with resumes in hand for a community career fair on Wednesday, May 16, 2024. Here, individuals were able to explore various job opportunities in the Mount Vernon City School District and Westchester area. 

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Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. K. Veronica Smith:

There have been rumors and social media reports as to further student violence today at Mount Vernon High School after yesterday’s assault. Reports of a female student being stabbed are not true. There was an unrelated minor altercation on a school bus with no serious injuries after school. 

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In the past 10 years, the Mount Vernon City School District has introduced and grown partnerships with a number of organizations, colleges and universities to deliver exceptional academic programming to students. The District has also increased its offering of trade programs during this time, expanding possibilities for all scholars.