ThePittsburghChannel.com - News - Westinghouse Tragedy Spotlights O'Connor's Safety Plan PITTSBURGH -- Tuesday morning's tragedy appears to be providing some momentum for Mayor Bob O'Connor's Safety Zone Partnership plan that he announced last week. O'Connor wants a comprehensive plan for creating 1,000-foot safety Zones around all city schools.I think it is bad public policy to be dumping our kids downtown to get bus transfers. I think the kids in the schools need to be on school buses more than on public PAT buses. I've talked about this before.
The bus routes and the flow of traffic in Pittsburgh is NOT like that in Philly. In a flat mega city like Philly, the kids can better use the buses to get to where they need to go.
In Pittsburgh, we've got some High Schools, and even Middle Schools, that are put in far-flung corners -- such as Brashier. You can't walk along Rt. 51 to get to Brashier. Buses don't really go along that stretch of Rt. 51 to pass by Brashier.
We do have a school that sits at a big junction of many buses -- on South Side -- and that school is up for sale. That is wrong. South Vo Tech sits at a good location for a school building. We need to keep those locations in public control for valued uses -- like for our kids.
The School District should NOT sell off South Vo Tech High School. Not now.
I'm very happy that the kids who are causing some of these problems are getting caught. The kids in the school at Perry last week with a gun got nabbed -- right away -- perfect actions by the school security folks.
Great to see the police swarm and then catch the kids running around by Gateway Center. A citizen saw the one ditch a gun -- he spoke up and that's what we need. Great.
Let's hope that the shooters outside of Westinghouse in the morning violence get caught.
I'm less worried about a 1,000 foot radius -- and do worry about the holistic plan for the entire city and an entire generation (or two) of young people. But, you need to put a line in the sand somewhere.
... We need dogs in our schools to check for drugs and guns," said O'Connor. Dogs are okay at checking for bombs, right. Are they any good finding a hand gun? Dogs might do a good service in the lunch rooms too -- to pick up spilled food from the floor.
Dogs.... I've got a better idea. I think we should have a school or department that is geared to the bio-sciences. The students in that department, say all the juniors, should train from a puppy a work-dog. That would be a valuable life and educational lesson. There are many types of working dogs: assist dogs, etc.
Here is another major need -- and it has been something I've said HUNDREDS of times. We need to re-hire crossing guards. The city used to have crossing guards. The crossing guards are few and far between. The crossing guards were often closer to schools, as well as bus stops. The crossing guards were city employees with a badge and reported to the police chain of command.
The past mayor fired all the crossing guards.
The burden of paying for the crossing guards went upon the schools. That was wrong. I want the schools to pay for teachers, reading coaches, text books --- not public safety.
Crossing guards work the streets, make cars go slower, become hired eyes and ears on all sorts of matters.
Crossing guards are affordable. But, they are also more, much, much more, than a volunteer.
As a city council member -- I'll work to retore and enhance the program for crossing-guards.
Even when the crisis with the guns end -- crossing-guards have a long-term benefit. More people get run down with autos than anything else. The cars are part of the real problems in life. Traffic accidents are a big threat.
A crossing guards can have a car towed that is illegal in an intersection. A crossing-guards can be the eyes and ears -- getting the drug dealing motor home yanked out of the lot next to the school. The crossing guards should be able to write a speeding ticket. The crossing guards can be with radios.
The crossing guards can make things much safer -- without being in riot gear.