Penn Hills Adding Youth Engagement Specialists At Middle School

Lynne Hayes-Freeland & Robert Mangino
July 01, 2020 - 2:41 pm

    PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Penn Hills School District has announced they are adding Youth Engagement Specialist at their Linton middle school to work in conjunction with security guards.

    Erin Vecchio, Penn Hills School Board President says the specialists “can actually talk to the kids . . . they actually look in to try to find out what the root of the problem is that starts the bad behavior.”

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    Vecchio adds that they won’t eliminate any security guard positions and that grand money will cover most of the coast of the specialists.

    The Penn Hills Police Department has a presence in the school district and retired cops at the elementary school.

    Vecchio says the difference between a security guard and youth engagement specialists is one is there to keep students and staff safe and the other is trained to find out what is causing problems in a student’s life.

    Experts say that Middle School is when a child is most vulnerable and developing and issues could case long-term issues into high school and beyond.

    Vecchio says that the program will be a work in progress and with COVID-19 2020-21 will look completely different and they yet don’t know if classes will be in person, online or if a mix of both will be used.

    She adds they are waiting on word from Harrisburg on how to proceed.


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