Wednesday, May 18, 2011


On a "Start a new post" Concerned Parent wrote:

"Not to play into the rumor mill, but this one has me concerned. Has anyone heard about an Obama teacher who was sexually and/or physically assaulted by a student? I've asked around and have heard second and third hand confirmations of this but nothing official. A young female teacher is what Im hearing."


Questioner said...

Back at the time of the reported "booing incident" it was impossible to obtain confirmation from the principal as to whether the incident ever took place. The parent hotline eventually stated that "it was being handled as a personnel matter," without confirming what specifically took place.

Is this the type of thing that parents and the community have a right to know about, on a no names basis? If so- what are the chances of calling our school board rep and finding that an incident did or did not take place? Is there more than one board member who would even respond?

Anonymous said...

If you watch the video of the April 2011 EFA meeting there is some discussion of possible ineffectiveness of the Parent Hotline. It has to be a tough spot to be in, answering the phone and constantly guarding your words.

The incidents on the 13th at Brashear which were reported by wpxi included an explanation that neighborhood issues were a cause. There can be no guarantees of course, but are the leaders of the Westinghouse/UPrep team learning anything from this that they can use next year?

Questioner said...

It would be ideal if incidents are analyzed with an eye toward whether and how they could have been prevented. PPS would probably say yes of course, but obtaining any real details would be difficult.

Any information on which neighborhoods were involved? Here's a link to the Brashear info, there may be others:

Anonymous said...

New topic:
Dr. Lane announces "administrative" cuts. What she is referring to = secretaries, etc. Cut some of those high paid executives!

Startled said...

To Questioner:

I was told directly by a PPS Security Officer that the Lane administration has recently decided to cut school security.

50% of the security officers assigned to buildings will be cut. And 50% of the roving school police will be cut.

If this is true, it is disturbing, to say the least. No reasonable person can argue that the schools now have too much security.

School safety should be this district's number one priority. Cutting any security at all would seem to be both counterproductive and dangerous.

Questioner, is there any way you can check up on this?

If you can verify what the Security Officer told me, perhaps it should be a post of its own.

Questioner said...

No firm information yet but word is that administration is being greatly cut, and security doesn't seem like administration.

Startled said...

Questioner, my source said that the security-cutting process is past the planning stages.

I was told that individual security officers have already been notified that they will not have a job next school year.

As I stated above, if this is true it is quite disturbing.

Questioner said...

Yes, cutting security at a time that schools are being closed and combined does not seem like a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Timing of speculation about security is disturbing. Some schools have ended the business side of PTO and PSCC meetings and now focus on Fun Days and field trips and getting ready for proms and graduations. Yet, this is just the kind of rumor that should get parents in the door to demand answers or force them to pick up the phone. If it is a rumor with no basis in fact, don't let it fester.

For as long as I had kids in school there was a yearly rumor about security cuts.

Anonymous said...

Unless you have real security issues every day that require an officer at the school building, you wouldn't need security. In the event that you have a security situation, schoold should just call the Pgh Police. They would respond quicker anyway and are better trained to handle any situation. I know some of those security officers are dead weight and should have been axed years ago. As far as I'm concerned , its about time they stopped that gravy train.

Have Seen It All said...

Anonymous 11:31, please reconsider your stand. In most city schools, security issues occur each and every day.

Let me give you three examples from my own experience.

A student is talking on his cell phone in a class and refuses to stop. So the teacher tells the student to go to the vice principal's office, but the student refuses. School security is called and removes the student so the lesson can continue.

Two students are loudly arguing in the hallway. A fight is about to break out. The students ignore teacher requests for them to separate. Security is called to separate the students and diffuse the situation.

A student is in the hallway during class. A teacher asks the student for his hall pass. The student refuses and keeps walking. Security is called to stop the student and find out why he was in the hallway.

In each of these examples, something must be done. But if you called the city police, they would just laugh at you.

And it is not a teacher's job to physically restrain or remove students. That's why we need school security.

Also remember that if there were no school security, then teachers would have to monitor the hallways. I'd rather have those teachers teaching.

But I do agree with you on one thing. In serious, violent situations, the city police should be called. But that's rarely done because the PPS doesn't want the bad publicity.

Anonymous said...

Have seen it all -- speaks the truth!

I'd add in that security is helpful during dealings with angry parents in the building as well. Often they just stand nearby, but their presence is noted and usually helps to keep situations from exploding. I've seen school security call in school police if a known to be volatile parent is in, as well.

Also agree that regular police should be called far more often. Maybe security and PGH police, without a layer in between. Plenty of things happen in schools that would be grounds for arrest if they happened outside of the property.

Anonymous said...

I mentioned to a few recent grads that security may be cut, that at this stage it is rumor. I never asked for an opinion but got the benefit of some strong feelings on the topic. Disbelief. Laughter. Outrage. Comments that can't be posted to a blog.

Questioner said...

The question is, will they cut security at Bellfield?

A Teacher said...

As a PPS teacher, I find most security guards pretty competent and helpful. They tend to know about potential problems and can be really helpful by proactively engaging kids in mediation. And when I need help in my classroom with a disruptive student, they're there in a flash for me.

Sadly, the lower paid of our staffers -- secretaries, security, custodians, all the folks teachers try hard to keep happy because they're not paid nearly enough and they can make your job so much easier -- they're the positions that will be cut first.