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Pittsburgh School Board rejects request to arm police officers

Pittsburgh Police officers who serve in the city's school are not allowed to be armed. The school board voted overwhelmingly this week to reject a proposal to allow school cops to carry guns. (Photo by Ross Mantle/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh School Board shot down a proposal to arm the district's nearly two dozen police officers this week.

What was this vote?

The board voted overwhelmingly (8-1) to reject a request backed by the school police chief to arm the district's 22 officers, KDKA-TV reported.

According to the outlet, dozens of parents told the board they opposed arming school officers, while no student, teacher, or parent voiced support for the move.

Law enforcement officials, however, were pushing for the change. School Police Chief George Brown previously said that "his 22 officers needed to carry guns to effectively perform their jobs," KDKA reported. He didn't comment after the vote.

Cynthia Falls, the lone school board member to back the measure, said, "We expect them to possibly take a bullet, but not have a firearm to defend themselves, our students, or our staff."

And Bill Hileman, head of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers union that represents the school police officers, lamented the board's actions.

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

What's going on with the Pittsburgh School Board?

This wasn't the only controversial decision the Pittsburgh School Board made this week.

The board voted to bar district employees and schools from officially participating in a kids' run sponsored by Chick-fil-A because the restaurant's founding family's position on marriage offends the sensibilities of the LGBT crowd.

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