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City School Board To Consider Comprehensive School Arrest Data Analysis

This summer, as protesters took to the streets to condemn racism and police brutality, two Pittsburgh Public Schools board members continued a longtime call for institutional change within the district.

This week, the board is expected to vote on a resolution by Devon Taliaferro and Pam Harbin to “re-think” school safety. The resolution was pulled from the August agenda. During that meeting Harbin said she expected it to be on the September agenda. 

The two board members say that Black and brown students and students with disabilities are at risk when school police officers are in their buildings because those students are disproportionately policed by both district and city officers.

But first, the two want more data.

The resolution calls for monitoring arrest, citation and referral data and a community conversation on re-thinking school safety. The board does not receive regular arrest and citation data. The district employs 22 officers with the authority to make arrests and 80 school safety personnel, who district officials refer to as security guards. Security does not have arresting authority, but are assigned to monitor schools.

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