Westinghouse Academy students begin return to school after 4 students shot on campus

Just one week after four students were shot in front of Westinghouse Academy a portion of North Murtland Street was again blocked off on Tuesday, but this time it was an act of love that shut down the street as students returned for their first day of in-person learning.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE >> Westinghouse Academy students to return to school in phases after 4 students shot on school grounds

Community groups, neighbors, and parents some holding signs, waving flags, others chanting and some just giving hugs; came out to make sure 6th to 8th-grade students at Westinghouse Academy had a safe school dismissal.

Tuesday was their first day back since the shooting that injured four students last week.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE >> 4 students shot outside Westinghouse Academy in Homewood West

PHOTOS: Huge police presence outside Westinghouse Academy after 4 students shot

“You’ve got violence everywhere but it’s definitely too close to home in these schools these schools are supposed to be protected,” said parent Dominique Knight.

On Tuesday, parents like Dominique Knight anxiously waited for their students to walk safely out of the school.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE >> Westinghouse Academy students will learn remotely for remainder of school week

“I pick her up every day. I drop her off every morning. I am nervous about the school buses, at least this way I know mommy and daddy dropped them off they are cool, and they get safely into the school,” Knight, said.

Last week police credited several teachers with getting three of the injured students back into the school until emergency crews arrived.

“I am very grateful for the teachers and security guards for doing everything they can,” Knight, said.

“The first people I heard were out there, were our teachers and our security, heroic,” said Nina Esposito-Visgitis, the President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.

Esposito-Visgitis said the district’s police force has shrunk from 22 officers to just 12. She added that the district needs security guards at all schools and additional resources.

“I know of at least 30 paraprofessionals that aren’t filled, we have teacher shortages that are starting to show, and we are at the point now that other districts are poaching teachers,” Esposito-Visgitis said.

She said teachers already stretched thin, are now dealing with school violence.

“They need to be able to do their jobs and that means more support for our students and for our staff because they are burning out trying to be everything to everybody,” said Esposito-Visgitis.

On Wednesday grades 9th through 12th will return to in-person learning here at Westinghouse Academy. And community groups we spoke with said they will again be here to help with dismissal.

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