PITTSBURGH - At its monthly legislative session this evening, a majority of the members of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors rejected a proposal to arm the district’s school police officers, effectively ending the idea after three years of debate.
The proposal has been repeatedly criticized by a diverse group of opponents, including parents, students, school board members, youth organizers, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“Everyone wants our children to attend school in a safe environment. We can achieve that goal without school police officers carrying weapons. The presence of police in schools already has a significant negative impact on young people, especially children of color and children with disabilities. Arming those officers compounds an existing problem.”
The following can be attributed to Harold Jordan, senior policy advocate at the ACLU of Pennsylvania, who testified before the school board on the proposal earlier this month:
“When police officers carry guns in schools, it sends a hostile message to students. It makes them feel more policed than protected.
“There have been a disturbing number of incidents in our nation's schools where students have been harmed by police use of force, including by stun guns and TASERs. Introducing firearms into this mix poses an unacceptable level of risk to students. The board of the Pittsburgh Public Schools has done the right thing by rejecting this harmful idea.”