Penn Hills Official Calls Connellsville Decision To Travel With Armed Guards 'Insulting'

Connellsville Area has starting bringing their own armed guards to sporting events at Penn HIlls

October 11, 2018 - 10:42 am

Related: Racial Sensitivity Training Required at Connellsville Area School District

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - After allegations of racial slurs targeting Penn Hills soccer players during a game at Connellsville last month were deemed credible by the WPIAL, the organization ruled Connellsville would be required to have racial and cultural sensitive training.

Now, Connellsville is sending its own armed guards to Penn Hills for athletic events including a boys’ soccer game this past Monday. Dr. Nancy Hines, Penn Hills Superintendent, has called the decision “culturally insensitive”.

Penn Hills School Board president Erin Vecchio told KDKA Radio’s Lynn Hayes Freeland when she heard Connellsville was brining armed guards to their school district, “It totally blew my mind because of the fact that we were the victims of what they caused at the game when we were (at Connellsville).” She adds it’s insulting and “Drama that doesn’t need to happen.”

Vecchio said that Connellsville’s Police Chief Bill Hammerle called Penn Hills’ Chief Howard Burton and informed him that they planned on brining armed guards. Chief Burton informed Chief Hammerle it wasn’t necessary, but it was within his right to do so.

Penn Hills has guards but they are not armed.

Vecchio added that the Connellsville guards escorted the student/athletes everywhere while they were at Penn Hills including bathroom trips. She calls those actions “Intimidating” and wants the WPIAL to step in.

To Vecchio’s  knowledge Penn Hills’ coach was informed of the presence of the armed guards right before the game and said he did not have a problem with it “But the parents definitely had a problem with it . . . because our kids are supposedly the victims here.”

Connellsville Area Superintendent Joseph Bradley said in a statement the District is “saddened and disappointed that any school district employee accompanying our students could be construed as culturally insensitive or inappropriate in any way.”

Bradley added he welcomes the WPIAL “to examine our long standing use of school personnel at appropriate away events,” and that he and members of the Connellsville administration team “presented ourselves to officials of the Penn Hills School District as were in attendance at the 10/8/18 boys’ soccer game at Penn Hills and provided ample opportunity for any inquire about (Connellsville’s) use of school personnel at away event.”

The WPIAL has yet to comment.

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