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Pittsburgh teacher’s union speaking out after Texas school shooting

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh teacher’s union president is speaking out and says while they are prepared—the Texas mass shooting at an elementary school is now bringing additional concerns to teachers, parents and students.

Nina Esposito—Visgotis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, said, “27 school shootings in this year alone. We’re in the fifth month!”

Esposito-Visgitis says we are at a tipping point with teachers retiring and leaving the job over the last two years, feeling even more anxious over what could happen next.

Esposito-Visgitis says schools nationwide are in danger and action needs to be taken before another tragedy happens.

“How do you put this together? How can we allow this to keep happening?”

She says she’s proud of Pittsburgh Public Schools and its incredibly well-trained police force, building security staff and teachers.

However, she’s calling for more

school police and security officers in all buildings.

She wants the school board to work with them and allocate the necessary funding.

In addition, she says adding more support staff and teacher aides would allow classrooms to run in a safer fashion and lessen the burden on teachers.

A big focus, she says, should also be on mental health of students and having someone to talk with.

“We also want more counselors and social workers.”

A PPS spokesperson says they currently have a unique safety plan for each building, safety teams, practice safety drills and all staff are trained on the ALICE program which is alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.

“Our teachers are well trained. Our school police are well trained. But when you have a coward with an assault weapon, what kind of training is there?” said Esposito-Vigitis.

Esposito-Vigitis says change also needs to occur at the state and federal level with lawmakers.

PPS told Channel 11 that back in 2013, the district replaced all school classroom doors to ensure they can lock from the inside and are secure.

The majority of schools are equipped with metal detectors and security personnel.