Thursday, September 17, 2015

PA Code, Chapter 447, Hazardous Walking Routes UPDATED - Timmy has spoken

I know that parents are outraged over the archery that will take place starting this Saturday and will end late January 2016. Steve Feller's letter to Tim Steinhauer states:

No hunting will take place on school safe-walking routes. Only police officers certified for the program will hunt on public property.
And then goes on to say:
Several groups of private properties will be used for hunting. Theses properties were thoroughly vetted, and hunters will follow the rules of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Are the private properties on school safe-walking routes? Parents ask, "How is this permitted?" Well, it's not.  Please Google PA Code, Chapter 447, Hazardous Walking Routes. 

I maintain that every street in Mt. Lebanon has been charted on safe walking routes. (You have to be able to get from here to there.) 

From the School District website:



The Mt. Lebanon School District is a walking school district. Student safe walking awareness is reviewed annually with the assistance of the Mt. Lebanon Police Department (MLPD). In addition to reinforcing safe walking rules with students at the beginning of the school year, the MLPD has established Safe Walking Routes for each elementary school. Please review these routes with your child throughout the school year.  
Safe Walking Routes
The Municipality of Mt. Lebanon, along with the Mt. Lebanon Police Department and Juvenile Protection has formulated the following walking routes.  These routes are recommended safe walking routes according to pedestrian and vehicle laws of the Commonwealth of PA.  The walking routes are all encompassing not simply for routes to each elementary school.  They were designed to be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  These routes will show the safest area to walk on the street as well as the safest place to cross every street and crossing guard locations.  The routes will take you to a signalized intersection with a stop sign or traffic signal making it easier to cross. 
For students in elementary school, locate your school map and find your address.  You may then follow the blue arrows to the school.  The reverse would be done for walking home.  For students in middle and high school, locate the elementary school map where you live and follow that towards your school and onto the next elementary school map where the middle or high school is located.
Because the maps are all encompassing for safety, all walking routes will follow a street or sidewalk.  Pathways and cut through stairs have been eliminated as safe walking routes.

Foster Elementary School Walking Route

From an attorney:
Let’s first only review it for the purposes of the district’s safe walking routes in the context of the archery kill. (After a cursory review, I suspect that some of the MTSLD safe walking routes are in question, even without the deer kill.) Chapter 447 creates guidelines for determining if a school student walking route along a public highway (I think that means all thru streets) is hazardous. Now, the section specifically defines hazardous as an unsafe condition caused by “POTENTIAL incompatibility between vehicles and school students.” My contention is that a kid may want to walk to school on the other side of the street (against crosswalk regs) or may be expected to walk or run into the street once s/he discovers that the walking route is adjacent to a public or private killing site, or may run into the street if s/he sees an arrow fly or encounters a dead or dying deer on the safe walking route. All of those scenarios subject students to traffic perils. 
A review/study of the safe walking routes WILL be conducted ONLY IF requested by the school district. Chapter 447 of the PA Code states that “if changes occur in the condition of a walking route that was previously inspected, a re-evaluation of the route may be requested (again, only by the school district).

Dr. Steinhauer needs to be convinced that he should immediately request that the appropriate PA engineering district conduct a safe walking route analysis or reanalysis of the potential for kid/vehicle dangers caused by private and public archery hunting grounds in Mt. Lebanon, for a deer kill that will occur during the daylight, at least five days a week, for a period of over four months. Dr. Steinhauer will be required to send a copy of his request for the study to the municipality.

September 17, 2015 6:31 PM From John Bendel at 6:05 PM: "Our public works department will be putting signs up tomorrow. First, in the public areas where hunting is permitted and then in the other parks where hunting is not."

From the Mt. Lebanon website: Deer Management Update (September 17, 2015)
At a public meeting on September 8, 2015, the Mt. Lebanon Commission authorized a Deer Management Program archery management program. For additional information please read our Frequently Asked Questions related to deer management. Also available for review is the notification sent to the School District regarding Deer Management.

September 18, 2015 5:18 PM Timmy has spoken.

From: Dr. Timothy Steinhauer <TSteinhauer@mtlsd.net>
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2015 4:11 PM
To:
Cc: 'Stephen Feller'


Dear 

The School District and Municipality share the same priority for student safety. I have discussed safe student travel to and from school with the Municipal Manager and Chief of Police. I was assured that hunters would adhere to the rules established by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the hunters were aware of the safe-walking routes. In Mr. Feller’s letter he stated that no hunting would take place on school safe-walking routes. For your information, safe-walking routes are provided by the MLPD and are posted at http://www.mtlsd.org/parents/safewalkingroutes.asp  The precautions hunters will be taking while hunting on public property were noted in his letter.

All of the parents, principals, faculty, and staff were alerted to this upcoming event. In addition to the school’s role, parents always play an important part in directing his/her child to practice safe behavior when walking to and from school.

For questions about the specifics of the deer management program, you may contact the municipality’s Keith McGill at 412-343-3684, kmcgill@mtlebanon.org. For immediate safety concerns you should call 911.

Timothy J. Steinhauer, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Mt. Lebanon School District
412-344-2076

Update September 18, 2015 5:37 PM Further correspondence from an angry parent in response to Timmy's letter.

From:
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2015 4:19 PM
To: 'Dr. Timothy Steinhauer' <TSteinhauer@mtlsd.net>
Cc: 'sfeller@mtlebanon.org' <sfeller@mtlebanon.org>
Subject: RE: Deer Killing During School Hours

Tim---

It appears from your email that you and the muni do share the same view of student safety. That’s too bad for our school kids.

You may want to take a look at the Pa Code, Chapter 447. Hazardous Walking Routes. It is part of PA school law. I already know of certain streets where the archery hunt will directly conflict with the safe-walking routes. Steve Feller knows those streets, as well.

Angry parent

From: Angry parent
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2015 5:25 PM
To: 'Dr. Timothy Steinhauer' <TSteinhauer@mtlsd.net>
Cc: 'sfeller@mtlebanon.org' <sfeller@mtlebanon.org>
Subject: RE: Deer Killing During School Hours

One more thing, Tim. I realize the role that parents play in the kids’ safety. Obviously. I wouldn’t be making a big stink here if I didn’t.  Your statement below about the parents’ role in safety tells me that you do not have a grasp of a crucial issue. The municipality, with whom you share a safety bond, is unlawfully withholding the locations of the private properties on which our tax dollars are paying for the muni to kill deer with crossbows.

Perhaps you can tell me how I can direct my child to practice safe behavior when I do not know the locations at which he will be in heightened peril. I’m at a loss.

Thank you.

Angry parent

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are right, Elaine. I looked at the school district web site and found that every thru street in the municipality (I think)is a safe walking route for kids. That necessarily means that Avon Drive, which we know will contain several private killing sites, is a safe walking route.

If people are inclined, please email Tim Steinhauer at the MTLSD and tell him that the muni is misleading him. Ask Tim to request a safe walking route study by the state, as he is permitted to do under the PA Code section that you mentioned in your recent post, Elaine.

Richard Gideon said...

HA! I would like to make some of our local geniuses walk the routes they suggest for our kids - in the morning - in Winter - with backpacks. I live in the Hoover fiefdom; God help the family that has the misfortune to live on the lower part of Robb Hollow Road and has kids to send to Hoover! (Assuming that there are any down there, of course.)

As far as the school system is concerning, the myth of the "Walking District" was explained to me forty years ago when we first moved into Mt. Lebanon by a lawyer friend of ours - Mt. Lebanon had no buses because the powers that be feared integration.

PARENTS! - here is the best walking route for your kids, assuming you don't live any closer than next door to, or across the street from, their school: Have you kids get dressed, collect their books, and then walk to your car - where you will drive them to school.

Anonymous said...

In Feller's letter to Tim, dated September 11, Feller says that there will be archery hunting on private properties and those properties have been thoroughly vetted. What does that mean? Vetted by whom for what?
In the same sentence, Feller then says that the rules of the PA Game Commission will be followed.
Okay, I have a problem with that. Are parents supposed to be comforted because the PA Game Commission is ruling the school district's safe walking routes? I don't think the PA Game Commission has that power and who would want to give it to them?

Anonymous said...

Another thing. Jody's great idea to have only police officers hunt with crossbows on public property is bad on so many levels. To mention one--- Cops are always allowed to carry guns. That does not mean that we want them to use those guns every day for four months, sun up to sun down, five days per week. Same goes with crossbows and arrows.

Richard Gideon said...

AARGH! CORRECTION: in mine of 4:55pm, "Have you kids get dressed..." should read "Have your kids get dressed...."

Old age.

Anonymous said...

If u want Steinhauer to respond, you have to cc some important people like say at the state level. I have done this and it is quite alarming how things unfold but worth it in the long run. Be prepared for responses in all caps after midnight. This is one response I got from him: "DO YOU WANT BUSSES??". I'm thinking of using that line as the title of my memoir about living in Mt Lebanon.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gideon---that is exactly what I heard--that Mt. Lebanon has had no school buses because of feared integration. That's how it started. Nonetheless, the powers that be had to perpetuate the walking community myth. The school district is stuck with those safe walking routes (that obviously have been in place for years). With the imminent deer kill along many of the safe walking routes, Dr. Tim had better step up to the plate. (I am using baseball analogies in honor of the Pirates.) The safety of those walking routes must now be revisited by Tim and the state.

Anonymous said...

6:04---Stiney responded after midnight? All caps. I am not surprised. Do you want buses? I hope you responded in the affirmative just to play with his tail.

E. T. Gillen said...

Don't miss the update. John Bendel on signage and Mt. Lebanon website info on deer management.
Did anyone else get chills reading the date of Steve Feller's letter to Timmy?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

If I were Super Tim, I would have jacked Feller up against the wall. Yes, I got the chills. The question is did Tim get the chills? Let's find out, folks. It's time to get those emails out to Tim about the safe walking routes. He needs to feel pressure. If you need to cc someone at the PA Department of Education or anyone else, knock yourself out. Please, please, please contact Tim Steinhauer about the incredible risk at which the municipality is recklessly placing our community's children. He needs to act. NOW. If not, we will call Ralph Ianotti.

Anonymous said...

Ethics code for PA educators.

"(10) Professional educators shall exert reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions which interfere with learning or are harmful to the student's health and safety. "

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/guidelines,_policies,_complaint_forms,_reports_and_related_documents_/8850

A printable code of conduct is also available on the website. Educators not only have to follow the law, they have to conduct themselves in line with the ethics code of conduct.

Anonymous said...

Can a local taxpayer send a letter to the PA department of Education and report what is going on with the deer hunting and safe walking routes for the kids? Can a local taxpayer ask for an investigation fro the PDE and direct them to contact our superintendent and request a report from him that the kids will be protected? If facts are on paper, along with copies of the RTK's, it cannot be disputed. If this possible?

Anonymous said...

Sure. You may contact the PA Department of Education directly about the dire straits/unsafe walking routes of Mt. Lebanon school children. We all need to sit on Tim, as well. Let's make his day tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Is the procedure for tracking the shot deer documented anywhere? What if the deer enters school grounds? Will the police or the archer follow the deer on to school property? Is this documented in the yearly Memorandum of Agreement between the district and the police? Plans to protect children in situations that are likely to occur within their school communities are to be outlined in the memorandum before the school year. Has the Memorandum been altered to accommodate for the 4 month long archery program? What about for the sharpshooting program? If these matters have not been documented in the memorandum of agreement, then the police and the school district are failing to protect the children who will be going back and forth on the streets to/from school while a concurrent hunting program at undisclosed private properties is occurring. Has the school district AUTHORIZED hunters to enter the school property for the lawful hunt? Do the hunters have their child clearances? You cannot even been a roofer on school grounds without a child clearance in PA.

Sample of a memorandum:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:LAiKZKJnpgcJ:https://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1240828/mou_mutual_aid_agreement_pdf+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari

Roofers:
http://www.wtae.com/news/21-roofers-barred-from-school-sites-due-to-criminal-history-union-sues-north-allegheny-fox-chapel-and-montour-school-districts/35048272

Anonymous said...

State Board of Education
ra-stateboardofed@pa.gov
Chairperson of the Board
Mr. Larry Wittig (2017)
State Board of Education
333 Market Street, 1st Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126

Board Staff
Karen Molchanow
Executive Director

Chief Executive Officer
Pedro A. Rivera
Acting Secretary of Education

This person is in charge of ethics and may answer a question but will request you file a complaint.
Carolyn Angelo | Executive Director
Professional Standards and Practices Commission
333 Market Street, 9th Fl | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.787.6576
cangelo@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us

This person will forward your emails immediately to Steinhauer so you might as well CC him. This guy answers questions related to transportation/walking safety.
John Burkett | Budget Analyst
Pennsylvania Department of Education - Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management
333 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.787.5423 x5
ra-eTran@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us

These people partner with the Department of Education to ensure the Safe Schools Act is followed through upon... now thanks to Mt Lebanon, they have an entirely new concern.

Center for Safe Schools
275 Grandview Avenue, Suite 200
Camp Hill PA 17011
(717) 763-1661
safeschools@csc.csiu.org

Anonymous said...

Tim always ends his emails with a quote. It's something like, "What have you done today to improve the life of a child?".
Taking action on the "safe" walking routes for school students would be a good start for him in his supposed quest to improve lives. Saving lives, I think, is a big improvement over the alternative.
Please continue to spread the word. Email Tim and ask him to stand up to the commissioners--- for kids' sake.
If Tim does nothing (and, we will know very soon), his inaction will qualify as a reportable child neglect incident(s).

Barbara said...

I e-mailed Dr. Steinhauer, Chief Lauth, and the Commission re: the safewalking routes given the problems the archery hunt may create for walkers.

Thank you for the information and analysis on the legal/walking aspect of this. I have a young walker myself.

Anonymous said...

Did Tim respond to anyone yet?

Anonymous said...

Tim is wrong about the priority for student safety. His responsibility is stronger than the municipality's. His responsibility is a function of his job -- directly. He is mandated by law, ethics, and his license as an administrator to ensure the safety of students on their routes to and from school and to ensure that local changes do not put them at additional risk for harm.

E. T. Gillen said...

FYI, Timmy wants the deer killed. I never liked him.

The killing starts in 12 hours.
Elaine

Lena Horne said...

5:53---are you willing to email Tim with the information you included in your post? Well written.

Lena Horne said...

Elaine--Sure Time wants the deer to die. What he wants and what his duty as superintendent of schools demands are two different things. I don't care if he is dressed in cameo and carrying a crossbow in his backyard. It is unlawful for him to neglect the students' safety needs.

Barbara said...

Dr Steinhauer replied to my e-mail with the same letter shared by "Angry Parent," which I agree does not address the safety issues and inappropriately deflects actions back on the parents to keep their kids safe. How do I know what to tell my kid to do to be safe when we don't know what could possibly happen as a result of the hunting?

Anonymous said...

Barbara - You or anyone else can submit a question to a panel of education ethicists about this topic. I can't guarantee the timeliness of their response but I would be curious as to what they would say. This is a link to the website that offers some background on the panel: http://www.aasaconnect.com/The-Ethical-Educator. To submit a question, there is a link on that page.

I can't decide what's the best question but feel free to take one or all.

Is it ethical for a PA school superintendent to permit his/her students who walk to/from school on prescribed walking routes in which archers and sharpshooters will be killing deer for 4-6 months?

Is it the PA superintendent's responsibility to find out exactly where the archers and sharpshooters will be stationed and subsequently share this information with the students and their parents in order to prevent death, injury or trauma?

Is it the duty of the PA superintendent to state publicly that he and his school district are opposed to such high risk actions in close proximity to children who do not benefit from bus transportation or adult supervision during their walks to/from school in their densely populated neighborhoods?

Should the PA superintendent apply the safety parameters of Gun Free School Zone law to the students' safe walking routes to ensure their safety? If education is compulsory, and children in this district are without a motor vehicle, shouldn't the same standards apply to their walking routes?

E. T. Gillen said...

I just checked the MTLSD home page to see if there is any mention of archery, and there is none. I checked in Timmy's blog, and the last thing posted was a breakfast he had with Larry Lebowitz and students in March 2015. Timmy's Tweets were about the football game. Then I checked the Safewalking page. Nothing. I went on to the Safewalking route for Howe School. http://www.mtlsd.org/parents/stuff/howeschoolwalkingroutes.pdf There is no safewalking route for Pine Avenue or McNeilly Road area. The Safewalking Route for Hoover has some gaps. If you live by the houses on Robb Hollow, where there are "Not In My Yard" signs, they didn't make the map. Also, the area around Concordia is blank. Is that one of the private property areas?
I gave up looking at the other maps because I realized that the safewalking maps are not "all encompassing" as advertised.

Well, two hours and it is showtime. sigh.
Elaine

Lena Horne said...

Last two comments contain some quality information, that's for sure. 10:33: I would like to know the answer to all those Qs. Elaine--Do you think the safe walking routes on the web site have recently been updated in order to omit safe walking at the killing areas? Last time I looked, Avon Drive was a safe walking route.

E. T. Gillen said...

Avon Drive is still "safe" according to the map. http://www.mtlsd.org/parents/stuff/washingtonschoolwalkingroutes.pdf
Elaine

Lena Horne said...

Well, then, the muni, the MTLSD and the MLPD are all recklessly misleading the public.

Lena Horne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lena Horne said...

Whoops. I didn't mean to do that. I just wanted to know if it worked. I never knew we had that option.