Safety concerns at Erie High School might not have teachers returning to the classroom.

A letter was sent to the school district from the teacher union. This letter stated a list of safety items that need to be in the building before they can return.

Unsafe working conditions was the subject of a letter from the Pennsylvania State Education Association sent to the superintendent of the Erie School District.

“Until it’s safe for students and staff to be in the building, no one should be in that building,” said Carolyn Funkhouser, PSEA UNISERV Representative.

The teachers union said that until these changes are made, they will only work remotely.

Some of these changes include metal detectors, fully functioning security cameras, and locks on interior and exterior doors.

The school superintendent said that the topic of safety has been an ongoing conversation with the teachers union.

“I don’t disagree with any of the things they are requesting. Again we have been talking with them about those within the last two months. So I think we will be able to formulate a response with them shortly,” said Brian Polito, Superintendent for Erie School District.

Just two days after Erie High was evacuated in January due to a social media threat, the district and union leaders met to talk about specific safety concerns.

“The fact that a number of those items were not addressed has been very concerning leading up to yesterday. I think we did see this as inevitable,” said Funkhouser.

Superintendent Polito said that they will be working on a solution to best benefit staff and teachers along with students to make for a safe return to school.

As stated in the letter, the union claims that the district cannot legally make teachers work in what they’re calling an unsafe and dangerous work environment.

Unless changes are made before spring break ends, the school will return to virtual learning.

“We are continuing to develop a plan and are certainly going to work with them and make sure everyone is comfortable with what we have in place before we return students and staff,” said Polito.

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The PSEA Representative, Carolyn Funkhouser, also said that the letter is meant to address not just the high school, but other buildings in the district, as well as the need for more safety.