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Pittsburgh School Board Votes 'No' To Arming District's Police Officers

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Police officers with Pittsburgh Public Schools will not carry firearms.

The vote at Wednesday night's board meeting at the Board of Education Building was 8-1.

The only board member who supported officers carrying guns was Cynthia Falls.

"We expect them to possibly take a bullet, but not have a firearm to defend themselves, our students, or our staff," said Falls.

But board member Sala Udin said the board did not hear from anyone at the public hearing who supported the measure.

"Not a single parent came through asking for the police to be armed. Not a single student, not a single teacher. Only law enforcement," said Udin.

On Monday, there was a dramatic and emotion-filled protest outside the building as parents and taxpayers urged the board to deny the request to arm the district's 22 police officers.

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(Photo Credit: Lynne Hayes-Freeland/KDKA)

School Police Chief George Brown earlier told the district his 22 officers needed guns to properly perform their duties. He declined comment after the vote.

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers represents the officers.

Union head Bill Hileman talked to KDKA after the vote.

"Our police officers are on the South Side in the evening, they're at other events and they're in mobile units. We wanted a full discussion of all the assignments our dedicated police have, but that didn't happen," said Hileman.

Watch Amy Wadas's report --


Board President Dr. Regina Holley said, "Our message to the officers, continue doing the work that you're doing; but for me, it does not mean I'm going to let you strap a gun to your side."

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