City of Pittsfield Mayor, Berkshire County District Attorney and School Superintendent Issue Joint Statement on Recent Park and School Incidents in Pittsfield.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – On Friday, April 26, Mayor Linda Tyer convened an emergency roundtable meeting with the city’s Chief of Police, Michael Wynn; School Superintendent Jason McCandless; and Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington to address the mounting concerns stemming from recent disturbances involving youth in city parks and on school grounds.

“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 Mayor Tyer. “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.”

Today, the Pittsfield Police Department has made one arrest in connection with these incidents. In order to avoid compromising this open and ongoing investigation, further information will not be released at this time.

In the wake of school-related activity, which included a fight this past week involving Reid Middle School students off school grounds and after hours, on Thursday, April 25, Superintendent McCandless issued a communication to parents which noted a range of serious consequences for students who engaged in disorderly behavior and/or participated in other supporting capacities.

“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.”

District Attorney Harrington is encouraging individuals who have been impacted by these incidents to contact her Victim Witness Assistance Program at 413-443-5951 or contact BerkshireDA@mass.gov.

“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 District Attorney Harrington.

Looking ahead, the following actions will be taken to address this matter:

· 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.

· Sheriff’s Office will have a mounted patrol at Springside Park (following school dismissal) starting next week.

What to do if your child has an issue:

· Call 911 and file a report with the police department.

· Contact your school to inform officials of the situation.

· Contact Victim’s Services at the District Attorney’s Office.