Mayor Gainey reacts to transition recommendations

PITTSBURGH — Mayor Ed Gainey received his transition recommendations. The committee was tasked with addressing four areas of interest: safety, infrastructure, housing and education equity.

The mayor gave his first reaction to the 120-page document on Thursday.

“They didn’t create this culture of violence, they are too young this is the culture we left them,” said Mayor Ed Gainey.

Since the beginning of 2022, the city has seen 27 homicides – 10 involving teenagers.

“That should be alarming to everybody,” said Gainey.

We’ve seen violence in and outside of PPS schools, and murder outside of Oliver Academy; handguns inside of Carrick High School and outside of Westinghouse High School.

“It’s going to take a citywide approach for this, and the way that we think about things; it’s going to the school board, city, and non-profits,” said Gainey.

Despite an uptick in youth violence, surprisingly the recommendations call for a decrease in policing inside of schools, and a moratorium on summary citations for those under 18.

Execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the PPS and DPS that prioritizes children’s social and emotional well-being by preventing interaction between PPD and PPS students except in limited, mandatory cases of health or safety emergencies.

The ACLU supports the recommendation and explains that summary citations can be issued to students for minor offenses like cursing or hallway rowdiness, but have a lasting impact and financial burden.

“There is no difference between juveniles or adults in the magisterial system, so it’s an adult criminal offense, and it cannot be expunged from a youth’s record until six months after they’re 18,” said Ghadah Makoshi with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Legal expert Phil Dilucente said if a student is found delinquent—which they often are because an attorney is not present—that record can be used to create barriers.

“We now have an educational system that is set up like a police state. Instead of an educational state,” said Dilucente.

To review a copy of the full report, click here.