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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It was 21 years ago when the Pittsburgh Public Schools District allowed police officers to be hired.
Now, the chief wants his force to be armed and the board will vote on the measure later this month.
“Arming police is not something we feel we need,” Board Member Moria Kalieda said.
Kalieda made it clear how she stands on arming the district’s 22 police officers.
“I can tell you personally, I will be voting no on this measure and I think, last night, five other members said that as well,” she said.
Kalieda led the policy workshop meeting in front of a packed room at the district’s Oakland office Monday night. Police Chief George Brown wants to arm his force, saying they need guns to protect the students and staff from outside threats.
“There is going to come a time when we need to reach for our hip to maintain safety for the kids. We are trying to keep the streets out of our schools, so our kids can laugh, tell jokes and a get an education and you can’t if the people get and do what they want to do,” Chief Brown said.
Chief Brown went on to say his force needs tools like teachers need their curriculum, but Kalieda seems to think the threat is inside the school buildings.
“We know that the arrests in Pittsburgh schools are very disproportionate in terms of race and disability. Eighty percent of our students who are arrested are black and if you are a black kid with a disability, you are three times more likely than your white counterpart to be arrested,” she said.
The board will vote on the measure on Oct. 24.