|Park, School Violence Prompts Response From Pittsfield Officials|
|Staff Reports, |
06:42PM / Friday, April 26, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City officials are looking to address ongoing issues of violence in schools and parks.
Mayor Linda Tyer, Police Chief Michael Wynn, Superintendent Jason McCandless, and District Attorney Andrea Harrington released a joint statement on Friday addressing the growing concern over the incidents.
"The safety and well-being of our children is priority No. 1. We will not tolerate conduct and behavior that puts the lives of our children and other members of our community in harm’s way. This issue is now at the highest ranks of city, school, and law enforcement officials," said Tyer in the statement.
"We are actively engaging with all parties to identify and implement immediate steps to curtail these disturbing actions that are taking place in our schools and in our public spaces."
The officials say one individual has been arrested in connection with the recent crime spree involving the middle schools. There had been issues with a group of teens causing trouble and being violent at Springside Park and a large fight broke out at Reid Middle School.
"I am actively engaged with Mayor Tyer and Pittsfield Police and I have pledged the full resources of my office to ensure the safety of our children in schools and in the community," said Harrington.
The increased level of violence — including the use of an airsoft or BB gun — led McCandless to issue a statement to parents on Thursday saying there will be serious consequences for those who engage in that type of behavior. That came after three parents had taken their concerns to the School Committee and Police Department.
"We just want to get across that there is nothing more important than the community concern over this activity. Please know that we are full partners with the Pittsfield Police Department, and district attorney's office, sheriff's office, and mayor's office. We are working collaboratively to ensure that our students are able to be students and not fear for their safety at school," McCandless said.
The city said the following actions are being taken:
School officials will be meeting with the students and families who have been involved in these incidents.
Pittsfield Police will seize illegally possessed pellet, Airsoft, and BB guns.
There will be heightened enforcement of the existing Rules and Regulations for city parks.
A special police detail will be assigned to Reid Middle School for the immediate future.
The sheriff's office will have a mounted patrol at Springside Park (following school dismissal) starting next week.
If parents have any further issues they are asked to call 911 and file a report with the Police Department, contact the school, and contact the victim's services at the district attorney's office.