PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – “No police in schools” — that’s the message of a protest scheduled for Monday afternoon.
As this idea is being proposed across the county, more than a dozen organizations will take this to the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Education.
“They are there to protect us, but that’s not what they’re doing. Then there’s no purpose in having them in schools,” Jasmine Dupree with The Women and Girls Foundation’s GirlGov Program said over Zoom.
Dupree is a 2020 graduate of Pittsburgh Public Schools and will be part of Monday’s protest. She said police have escalated minor situations and been misused when other professionals were needed to help a student in crisis.
“Police should not be handling the matters I’ve seen over four years or heard about from my peers,” Dupree said. “It’s completely ridiculous to hear what kids have had to go through with police or security officers.”
A petition in connection with the protest is calling for several changes including removing all 22 Pittsburgh Public School police officers from inside and outside the schools as well as adopting policies that keep Pittsburgh Police out, except when required by law or if there is imminent risk of serious physical harm.
“Kids from my neighborhood and where I live don’t want to see the same people hurting our friends and family around us now at school,” Dupree said.
It’s also calling for investments in counselors and social workers and the creation of a community-led police review board to evaluate situations when police are called to schools.
Organizers said Pittsburgh Public Schools district has one of the highest student arrests rates in the state.
“There’s very obvious reasons why kids don’t want be in an environment like that. Kids cannot handle that stress,” Dupree told KDKA’s Chris Hoffman.
The petition has more than 1,600 signatures. The protest is scheduled for 4 Monday afternoon outside the board of education building in Oakland.
KDKA reached out to Pittsburgh Public Schools about this protest and has not heard back. Board of Education President Sylvia Wilson said she hasn’t spoken with the other board members but her view is people have the right to rally.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.