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Despite Dead Animal Investigation, Negotiations Continue In Peters Township Strike

PETERS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Police in Peters Township are searching for the person who dumped a deer carcass at the site where teachers are picketing. To make matters worse, a negotiating session Wednesday morning ended almost as quickly as it began.

The latest is that Peters Township Police say they have identified a person of interest in their investigation into who dumped a spray-painted deer carcass at the picket site, although they are not saying who it is. Meanwhile, the teachers union says they've backed off on their economic issues, but it's not enough to reach a settlement.

Striking Peters Township teachers are getting some jeers on the picket line, but for the most part, they're getting honks of support. One woman even dropped off some cookies for the striking teachers.

But it's clear that this is a community divided over the strike. Tuesday morning, the picketers were greeted by a deer carcass, spray-painted in the blue color of the union with the letters "PT."

"We're viewing this as a threat," said Paul Homer of the American Federation of Teachers. "No intimidation factor, item, whatever is going to intimidate us into stopping the strike."

Police say they want to question a person of interest, whoever that may be.

"It could be a student who's aggravated because they can't get their transcripts or what they need," said Chief Harry Freucht with the Peters Township Police. "It could be a parent. Or it could be a teacher."

The person responsible for the deer carcass could face game land violations for transporting a carcass without a tag. They could also be charged with harassment.

But this isn't the first incident involving dead animals.

Last week, a squirrel was thrown from a moving vehicle and a dead raccoon was left hanging from a road sign near the picket lines.

Meanwhile, at least one representative from a parent group weighed in Tuesday night.

"There are a lot of upset students at the high school level, juniors and seniors, who cannot get letters of recommendation, they are not able to complete their AP courses and get transcripts sent to colleges and they are very upset and very angry," said Eric Tabor, a parent. "So, our instincts tell us this is probably the act of a group of teenagers."


As for the strike, the teachers say they've reduced their request for pay raises and offered to pay more for health care, but still can't make a deal.

The district, in the meantime, is calling on teachers to go back to work until the state budget is resolved in Harrisburg.

In a statement, the district says, "We cannot agree to a contract that is beyond our means and jeopardizes the future of our district."

"They're hiding behind their belief, which is a myth, that they have no money," Homer said. "It's an upper middle class community. They have over $24 million in the bank"

Under state law, teachers will be forced back to class the day after Thanksgiving, then they'll going into non-binding arbitration. If that fails, teachers could go back on strike.

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