Board Opposes Arming Teachers Pittsburgh Schools Directors Support 'Sensible' Legislation

By Behrman, Elizabeth | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), July 26, 2018 | Go to article overview

Board Opposes Arming Teachers Pittsburgh Schools Directors Support 'Sensible' Legislation


Behrman, Elizabeth, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The Pittsburgh Public Schools board on Wednesday called for "sensible gun safety legislation," passing a resolution opposing any effort to arm teachers and support staff in schools.

Seven board members voted in favor of the resolution, with Terry Kennedy and Cynthia Falls abstaining.

"Right now there's many states across the country that are trying to enact legislation to arm teachers and (that goes) all the way up to our president," said board member Moira Kaleida, who introduced the resolution with board member Lynda Wrenn. "So we just want to reaffirm that is not our belief, that is not a way to protect children."

The resolution calls for "sensible gun legislation" and specifically opposes the "misguided suggestion" by the Trump administration, the NRA and some members of the state Legislature who have proposed arming teachers as a way to dissuade would-be school shooters.

According to the resolution, the board would support other measures, such as more extensive background checks for potential gun purchasers, providing funding for gun violence research and increased funding for school programs and staff to support student mental health, social and emotional learning and anti-bullying efforts.

A bill currently is making its way through the Pennsylvania Legislature that would allow districts to adopt their own policies on whether teachers could be armed in schools.

Ms. Kaleida said the resolution was modeled after a similar one passed by the Seattle school board earlier this year. Other school districts nationwide also have officially opposed arming teachers, something President Donald Trump has repeatedly proposed as a way to stop school shootings such as the one in February that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Fla.

The board plans to discuss at a workshop this fall the possibility of allowing district police officers to carry weapons. They currently are not armed.

"We want to do our due diligence and do an exploration on that and explore that process," superintendent Anthony Hamlet said after the meeting. …

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