Parents and community activists say many changes still need to be made to a proposed memorandum of understanding between Pittsburgh Public Schools and city police to ensure the most vulnerable students’ rights are protected.
To address concerns from the community and Pittsburgh school board members, the latest draft of a memorandum of understanding between Pittsburgh Public Schools and city police specifies that law enforcement cannot conduct an investigation without first reaching a student’s parent or guardian.
The MOU has undergone numerous revisions over the last several months to address concerns from community and student groups, board members and the ACLU. School board members looked over the newest draft at their Oct. 23 agenda review meeting.
The board is set to vote Oct. 30 on the agreement between police and the district that is years in the making.
“Largely, the concerns have been addressed,” district solicitor Ira Weiss said.
The agreement establishes procedures for how police can respond to certain incidents on school property or at school-sponsored activities. It does not cover incidents outside of the school setting and should “create no substantial disruption to the learning environment.”
The MOU defines parameters for information sharing between the two parties, what incidents school officials must notify city police regarding and what law enforcement response may involve, including taking a child into custody, notification of parents or guardians and reporting requirements.
Pennsylvania School Code requires that districts and municipalities have an MOU in place.
Sybrina Fulton, whose 17-year-old son Trayvon Martin was killed by a Sanford, Fla. neighborhood watchman in February 2012, gave encouragement and advice to Pittsburghers seven months after the killing of Antwon Rose II by an East Pittsburgh police officer.
More than 1,000 people from across the country gathered in Downtown Pittsburgh this week for a national conference focused on increasing college enrollment and graduation rates for students from low-income families or underrepresented groups.