Saturday, October 11, 2014

Additional incident(s) at U Prep

The PG reports that a 19 year old has been taken into custody.

"Smith was charged by school police with aggravated assault and criminal trespass for an incident at an undisclosed date at University Prep High School in the Hill District."

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/10/11/Pittsburgh-police-searching-for-man-in-connection-with-University-Prep-High-School-incident/stories/201410110186

84 comments:

Questioner said...

Tribune article, also giving few details:

http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6947484-74/smith-police-assault#axzz3FYklYfqv

An earlier Trib article said a former student, current student, and another individual entered the school via a side door opened buy a current student, pushed over a teacher and assaulted another student, causing a possible torn cornea. For some reason that information has been removed.

Anonymous said...

It's possible they removed it because it was found not to be true.

Questioner said...

It is back with changes:

http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6947484-74/smith-police-assault#axzz3FYklYfqv

Also another article:

http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6941994-74/gun-violence-court?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TopTribliveStories+%28Top+Stories%29#axzz3FYklYfqv

Anonymous said...

It appears that the gang activity is focusing on agencies and programs to help these young men out of their former lives. Both CISP (county) and the Academy seem to be targets. I do not think that the PPS, charged with educating students K-12 can also take on yet another social program. I don';t know what the answer is to protect other students and staff, but there is no question that we need the gang task force and their expertise keeping everyone apprised of how we can safely help these young men if they are working to escape.

Questioner said...

CISP and the Academy may need police protection to do their work. Or else no one will want to work there. At one point a Trib article said that U Prep had been under surveillance (since August?), but that information may have been removed.

Anonymous said...

October 12, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Yes it is true two black men came through the gym door by the basketball courts and they started beating up a student. They knocked on the door and the students let them in because a student notified them that this young man was in gym class. Its all on camera. The teachers got into trouble because they did not stop it. Their teachers! Security was not called! They have a School Police Officer in the building but my daughter tells me that he is always in his office and is never at the main entrance!

Anonymous said...

This is from the Trib Article

Smith pleaded guilty Jan. 27 to aggravated assault and reckless endangerment for shooting in 2013 at a school van on Bentley Drive that carried students for The Academy Schools, a network of schools for court-adjudicated juveniles. Smith was paroled Jan. 27 after serving 285 days, which was above the minimum sentence of eight months, and placed on probation for three years.


This is much of the problem. He served 265 days in jail! Pennsylvania carries a mandatory 5 year jail sentence. I am tired of bad guys not getting the sentence they deserve. If this fella was still in jail, perhaps a student at U-Prep would still be alive. Please don't blame the gun, that is another argument. This criminal was under 21. He was not able to legally possess a handgun. We need judges who have the courage to send these rascals to jail!

Anonymous said...

Addition to 10:24, From the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearm Act, Under current PA law, anyone using a firearm in the commission of a crime faces an additional 5-year mandatory sentence

(Title 42, Section 9712) that can be imposed on them if the courts do their job and sentence in accordance with the law.

I am sorry I left this part on my past post. The U-Prep shooter should have been in jail. As for his sneaking into the building through a gym door, with a little help, it happened frequently at Carrick. Some teachers located near outside doors would lock their classroom doors. Administration hated it but hey, we kept our kids and ourselves safe.

Questioner said...

From the Tribune:

" There have been multiple shootings without injury in the Hill District since Eric Young, 17, was shot in the head and died Wednesday as he left his house with his mother for school....

Mann was grocery shopping with her mother Friday but returned between 11:30 a.m. and noon when she learned her Rose Street home had been shot up. Three bullets struck her window and walls near the front door.

She said officers told her the target of the shooting was a woman walking nearby whose brother was somehow connected to the killing of Young."

http://triblive.com/mobile/6956058-96/pittsburgh-hodges-police

Questioner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Was Mr. Hardy jumped today?

Anonymous said...

No, Mr. Hardy was not jumped. A kid punched him and there were four fights today! One fight there were eight girls fighting one another. There are gang bangers at the school and they need to get city police in there before its too dangerous! I am taking my daughter out of there. It is no learning environment and dangerous.

Questioner said...

Are any other parents of students who are just trying to go to school saying or doing anything?

Anonymous said...

This blog is wonderful but if parents don't take advantage of the public hearing as a way to get some action, only the readers of the blog will know what is happening!!

Questioner said...

Now that public hearings are being broadcast, speakers will be heard by many more people. Testimony can be easily shared and referenced in the future via You Tube.

Anonymous said...

I'm taking my daughter out of that place too. From what she tells me the metal detectors should be used when the students are leaving the school.

Anonymous said...

KDKA News at 11 reported that the Milliones UPrep Principal (Mr. Hardy) was hit in the BACK of the head and that the student who hit him was to be arrested.

What was the cause of this attack on the principal? Does anyone know?

Was the student arrested? By City Police?

Questioner said...

So how would restorative practices work here, and how is suspension avoided if a student is arrested?

Anonymous said...

Is there a link to this story? I wonder how it would have played out if a teacher was the victim? Or another student? I doubt it would have ended in an arrest.

Can someone post a link? I teach in a hill district elementary school and I'm concerned about the escalating violence. (Ex. shooting up a house on friday) I think all hill schools should be on lockdown until things settle down.

Anonymous said...

Since Mr. Hardy has a policy of blaming teachers for everything and booing teachers--it is obvious the assault was "his fault"
That is not meant as a smart aleck comment-- I experienced a vice principal being smacked-- glasses knocked off bu a student standing on a chair-- and she didnt make a big deal of it because she touched his arm to try to encourage him to get down and knew she would be blamed. Neither Mr. Hardy or this vp weere PELAS but the training for all was that adults are always at fault in a student confrontation. Luckily, the police have more sense- and put the thug into a police car

Anonymous said...

Annon 7:29, I thought Mr. Hardy was a PELA. He was at Brashear, then Carrick. There was never a history of other schools that he taught in. There was plenty of discussion that he was a tech person from the computer department.
Does anybody remember Mr. Hardy as a teacher, anywhere? If I am wrong I am sorry. Just find me the school where he taught. I have never seen any mention of his teaching on this blog. While I worked with him at Carrick, HE never mentioned where he taught!
Remember that when Mr. Hardy was an administrator in training, Mark Roosevelt was the superintendent. Look where no educational experience got him. Look where it got us!

Anonymous said...

He taught at Weil-therefore training under Bernie Taylor- another principal who had disregard/favoritism for teachers. He may have been a PELA- He also may have taught at Milliones for a bit

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell us IF, where, when and what Derrick Hardy taught?

Principals who have never been teachers are notorious for their lack of ability to manage students, teachers, and any school environment?

This could explain the problem! (It might not be his fault that there is so much trouble at UPREP!)

Anonymous said...

Link to wpxi story

http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/pittsburgh-hs-student-accused-hitting-principal/nhkcK/

When is the union going to step in to protect hill district students and teachers? This is an unsafe environment. My hill district elementary school was surrounded by city police cars all day. There were even officers on foot patrolling the area. What is going on? Why aren't we on lockdown if there is a need for all these police?

Anonymous said...

I was a teacher at Milliones from 1996 until it closed, Hardy was not a teacher there.

Anonymous said...

Their were more fights today at UPREP! When are they going to move Mr. Hardy? PPS are letting these children and staff remain in this dangerous environment! Why aren't there more security and police at the school? Does someone have to get hurt before more protection is placed? What are the kids learning how to be violent and in gangs? PPS shame on you for letting this go on! I went there to get my daughter because I am scared for her safety. The school was just out of control!

Anonymous said...

This from Crossroads.org. While Mr. Hardy has an educational certificate, his masters (one of them) was in Educational Technology. This explains some of the claims of computer tech and his time at A L.Wiel. He certainly was a fast ladder climber according to this bio. It only talks about his education and degrees. Still fuzzy about actual work experience. He does address his laziness and a self described bum. Check it out for yourself.

http://www.crossroadsfoundation.org/Module/Students/Alumni?id=3

Anonymous said...

Lord have mercy you ain't kidding that place is out of control. Someone help me please. How do I get my daughter out of that school? Can I send her to any school? I been talking to other parents about it but help me please. My daughter says students fight like that all the time and have big food fights. She says those principles give candy to students who are bad and if there really bad they get pizza.

Anonymous said...

9:18,

Here's my take. Others certainly know much more about the process than I do. I hope they chip in also.

In your case, I'd bypass your school's office and call central administration's main number (412-622-3500). Tell the operator that you want information on how a student can transfer schools. Don't forget to ask about charter school transfer also.

Be polite. Don't criticize, even though it's tempting to do so.

Someone at the admin building might be nice enough to send you the proper forms. Or they might tell you to talk to the school's principal. Or they might tell you it's impossible.

If you reach a dead end, contact your local School Board member. To do that, call 412-529-3770 or email boardoffice@pghboe.net.

Try not to give too many details at that time, or the person there might decide not to forward your message to your Board member. Say that you want your Board member to contact you as soon as possible.

When you talk to your Board member, politely explain why you want your child transfered. Again, try not to make accusations. And ask about charter schools (some are good, some are not). Be polite, but be firm.

The odds are against you here, but this is the only thing I can think of, unless you go the cyber school route. And a cyber school might not be such a bad thing!

The very best of luck to you and your daughter.

12:11 poster said...

9:18,

Let me add one more thing. When you talk to your Board member, try not to say too many bad things about U Prep's principal. Remember, it's the Board that gave him that job in the first place.

Complaining about the principal might work, but only if many people do it at the same time.

So try not to complain too much when you talk to your Board member. Instead, build the conversation around your daughter. Put your thinking cap on for this! Explain how a change of schools would benefit your daughter.

If she has been bullied at U Prep, mention that. Safety first!

Maybe her bus ride is really long. So if getting her to the school is difficult, mention that.

If she has an anxiety problem, and going to that school is making her ill, mention that. If she can't sleep, mention that. Perhaps a doctor's note would help there.

I hope this helps. Again, the very best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Per the other comment. The candy is passed out by the Vice Principal who has no idea how to control the out of control middle school! You are right the bad kids get pizza if they behave that day and the good kids watch them eat it! Raaaaaaa Raaaaaaaaa go UPREP! They get the Pizza good or bad so? Did everyone see Hardy lying to the media on the news?

Anonymous said...

9:18, Health issues are some of the best to use. The loss of , or inability to sleep are good. Especially when if affects her ability to function. Grinding of teeth at night are a symptom. If health concerns are raised, the board will ask your doctor to back it up. REMEMBER! there is such a thing as HIPPA. Your doctor is not required to disclose medical information. In fact, he/she is not allowed. They may ask you for a release, don't sign it. Your doctors medical opinion is none of their business.
You may want to "move" to another district. Withdraw your child from school stating the new school will ask for the records. Within a week, "move" back into Pgh., to another school. It has worked in the past.
Request a program not offered at U-Prep. Students across the city used to ask for Latin in the 9th grade. That was only taught at Allderdice. Safe environment is another. Some buildings are loaded with air quality issues.
You may have to seek legal aid. Talk to a charter school. They may be able to help you with a lawyer who will talk to them on your behalf.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Appreciation must be expressed to the poster who is reaching out to a very concerned parent. The same concern from the Pittsburgh community must go out to the parents and students who do not have a voice on this blog.

There should not be a need to circumvent the PPS system to get improved conditions at any school.

The serious and multiple academic, environmental, behavioral and administrative issues at Milliones Uprep that are being complained about here in very large numbers SHOULD and MUST be taken very very seriously by the Board and Central Administration.

It is unacceptable that parents are forced into unacceptable situation in order to get safety and education for their children! Directness and honesty must be modeled for all of the district's families and cildren.

Anonymous said...

All of this is a waste of time! Nothing has been done to help the children or staff!Three kids murdered from this school! Multiple out of control fights in the school, staff stressed and on the verge of a break down, a Principal that caused the stress, vice principal that is a joke, kids talk to the staff like they are the adults, drugs in the school, violence, and its unsafe and the PPS have done nothing!

Anonymous said...

All of this defies credibility! If the principal is seen as key to the problem, why would Central Office or the Board want to keep him there--for his own sake as well as students?

Place the principal somewhere that can lead to success using the talents and skill that have been demonstrated. Technology, maybe?

Find someone with the right skills, who is up to whatever challenges have been identified.

Make it a win-win!

Give these kids a chance to be educated and prepared for the future--how about "promise ready"?12

Anonymous said...

Maybe one of the Uprep parents who have posted here is willing to organize a protest in front of the board building in oakland. If you can involve media, get coverage that should turn heads. Uprep parents need to unite and let the board know this will not be tolerated. The board only responds when they feel their smoke screen is breached.

Anonymous said...

Getting your daughter there is difficult, but when she gets there it is even more difficult, because she is safer on the bus than in and I use the term loosely, school.

Anonymous said...

My fiend and I who are typing this as one were teachers at Uprep. I am not worried about the infamous heads finding out who we are, because over a hundred have left that deplorable school since it was created. Subs won't even pick up the phone to go there. Allow us to say this "All that is being said on here is absolutely true." In fact, it is worse. Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty we're free at last!

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely amazing to me how Administration (both school level & central office)continue to almost ignore the MAJOR behavior/violent behavior issues not only at UPREP but other buildings as well. I am not a teacher at U-Prep but I can only imagine the stress the teachers at U-Prep have to go deal with on a daily basis.

Things are out of control all over the district. At our building, we are told weekly how well things are going compared to the two previous years. What a joke!! Students do whatever they please cause they know there are NO consequences. The principal brags about how suspensions are "down" this year...they are DOWN because he won't allow suspensions to occur! His response to consequences is to have an open communication with parents (phone calls, home visits, etc)..Again, what a joke!! Our principal calls suspensions "band-aids" If suspensions are "band-aids," administration needs to create policies that are more effective rather than "bashing" teachers for performance. TIME FOR A NEW UPPER ADMINISTRATION TO COME TAKE OVER!!!!...Someone from the outside that can start fresh and not be afraid to start changes at the top!!!

Anonymous said...

Lets look at Mr. Esoldo. Okay the middle school runs him! If your bad you can sit in his office and have a candy bar. Oh honey why are you being so bad? Okay go back to class now. They are bad because of their lives poor babies states Esoldo. Esoldo your not a nurturing Mother your a man whom is a vice principal!

Anonymous said...

Restorative justice. Restorative practices. Candy bars? teen bloc kids and the bill of students' rights. treat students with respect. safe and supportive environments.

Anonymous said...

ok i got the snarky out of my system above and now this common citizen would like an example of how pps is using restorative practices in our high schools. i do not want to violate anybody's privacy but i can't get behind the concepts I have read about on the internet until i see the action of the concepts.

Anonymous said...

UPrep sounds like a war zone and less we forget the dynamic of combat...."You fight very very hard for awhile and then all of a sudden the resistance just collapses". Where is the strategy and the will to see it through HDEC?

Anonymous said...

HDEC works best through communicating, cooperating, and collaborating with community and school leaders for improving the total experience for students at UPREP.

Barriers are often challenges; but, advocacy for students is at the heart of the work and that commitment will see us through the challenges.

The "Whole Child, Whole Community" concept could pave the way if implemented with "all hands on deck"!

Anonymous said...

Where is the strategy HDEC?

Anonymous said...

We don't need a mission statement, HDEC, we need a strategy.

Anonymous said...

We'd love to inform you and elicit your support. All hands on deck!

Anonymous said...

This blog informs. If UPREP is any example of the impact HDEC has on the whole child and the whole community...then HDEC needs a new strategy before it issues the battle cry " all hands on deck ". HDEC is losing this fight to serve its most needy.

Questioner said...

The "Whole Child" slogan seems more like a marketing tactic for a plan than will actually do less to meet the needs of the whole child. Counting on the fact that many people never go beyond the headlines and the titles.

Anonymous said...

The Whole Child, Whole Community" document is at least 100 pages. Ideas on those pages, if implemented, could solve many of the District's problems.
Since it is a document highly promoted, it seems advisable to cite is as a reference that might facilitate implementation with accountablity.

Anonymous said...

It seems that "ALL hands on deck" means all of those connected to Hill District students.

Anonymous said...

Who leads HDEC? Are they working with the schools?

Anonymous said...

11:41 - Who in Pittsburgh is not losing the fight to serve the most needy?

Anonymous said...

HDEC-I worked in two different school in the Hill District for 25 years. I never saw nor spoke to anyone from this organization in all that time. What exactly do they do? I retired last year. Sometimes people like to be on committees-it's a status thing

Anonymous said...

If this was a white community I am sorry but the parents would not tolerate the problems! The UPREP parents do nothing!

Anonymous said...


1:17____ Dr. Jim Withers of Operation Safety Net, an internal medicine physician who partnered with street-savy formerly homeless individuals. It can happen in Education as well, HDEC.

Anonymous said...

Principal Hardy is on the HDEC!! That should say enough. They are not going to help u prep. A previous poster hit the nail on the head. Get as much negative media publicity as possible. The only thing PPS values is the facade they present to the public. When that starts to crack, something will happen.

Questioner said...

From the PG, court hearing for Hill teens today, including the August incident where according to the article a gym teacher was punched in the face by a teen who entered the building to assault a student:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/10/20/Court-hearings-for-Hill-District-teens-to-be-held-today/stories/201410200023

Anonymous said...

Oct.20 9:39___Anything less than boots on the ground, knocking on doors with brown bag lunches, sitting on stoops in conversation, having a beer at a kitchen table, visiting the work place and taking one another by the hand___ anything other than this is a strategy doomed for failure. A 100 page document on the whole child and whole community, although well intentioned, is not going to stop the bleeding. Triage is needed at UPrep and if HDEC can't do it, who will?

Anonymous said...

Great post, 8:29! Let HDEC know that being turned away is not an option. Boots on the ground, etc. not just in the community but at the school and 341.

341 has lost its way, boots on the ground are needed desperately to LEAD the way, break through the barriers, take on all challenges. Boots cannot take no for an answer. Boots must march forward, no holds barred. Boots can get it done! Boots must proceed as if success is inevitable!

Questioner said...

Broad/Gates and its superintendents have long had the attitude that their success is inevitable. It seems to breed a kind of complacency, that no matter what stresses and strains they put on the system, what kind of turnover and and elimination of basic mainstays like school nurses and constant testing and placement of unqualified personnel, success will be inevitable. But success has proven elusive.

Anonymous said...

Well for the superintendents success IS inevitable. They get raises, promotions, bonuses, etc, for the very same scores and results that teachers are raked over the coals for. They approve each other's bonuses and performance evaluations so THEIR success is inevitable and their positions are secure.
If one of Lane's goals was to close the racial achievement gap, she should be fired for u prep. The school is racially segregated and failing. Black children of the hill district are being denied access to a school that even meets the basic requirements for safety, much less education.

Anonymous said...

The principal of u prep is on the HDEC. That is a conflict of interest that will impede a solution.

Anonymous said...

The mayor should be having his education meeting in the hill district not homewood. Here is another example of all image, no substance. He talks big for publicity, just like PPS BOE.

Anonymous said...

HDEC should have principals of Hill schools as members so that there can be cooperation in finding ways to improve education for the students.

HDEC can be of enormous help to principals who are having trouble in their school.

The question is whether or not the principal will accept help or cooperate with those who can provide the help that is needed

Anonymous said...

11:30__you beg the question whether the principle at UPrep, being a member of HDEC, is accepting or cooperating with the help being offered by HDEC?
The chaos wouldn't suggest that he is or is HDEC just without influence and not the least bit impactful in its own neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

None of the UPREP parents have protested or went in a group to the district! Shame on you parents!

Anonymous said...

11:30__ Yes HDEC, your reputation is on the line here in this blog. Are you a force for change or are you merely a 'mission statement'?

Questioner said...

Can someone fill us in about the 3 biggest accomplishments of the HDCG over the last two years?

And, describe a specific boots on the ground project that it will undertake- who will participate, what is the specific goal, how will that goal be pursued and when/how will success be measured?

Anonymous said...


9:13__ my sense is that HDEC doesn't do ' boots on the ground ' and there in lies the problem.

Anonymous said...

Anybody home HDEC?
Come on___put on your boots, your Chuck Taylors, your Sunday go to meeting dress shoes and get moving, marching, making noise for the most needy in your neighborhood. Don't worry about stepping on other people's toes____they got shoes on too!

Rebecca Nuttall said...

What has the HDEC done at UPrep?

Anonymous said...

I don't think HDEC is doing much. The Hill District Consensus Group would be a better bet if you are looking for true change and help.They seemed interested and willing to help. The HDEC and PFT did not even respond to the emails I sent back in September when things were getting bad there.

Actually you, Rebecca, and the Hill District Consensus Group were the only ones who responded to my emailed concerns that the school was in crisis.

Seeing as principal Hardy seems to be the root of many of the problems and he is part of the HDEC does not inspire much faith in them to affect change.

Anonymous said...

they used to provide uniforms and school supplies to students in need.

Questioner said...

Here is a link to the HDEC web page:

http://www.hdec15219.org/index.html

Anonymous said...


Again__anybody home HDEC? If advocacy for students is at the heart of your work and your commitment will see you through the challenges__ You've been challenged by this blog. What do you have to say? UPrep is hanging in the balance here.

Anonymous said...

Questioner: As was posted here previously the The HDEC web page is more than 5-6 years old and doesn't show any (except the program mgr) updates. The leadership has changed. (There are three new leaders not listed. About 30 of the members listed are no longer members. Any new members are not listed. It is now a 501C with a Board of Directors, not listed. The only new position listed is the program manager. The reason that the website has not been updated is not known. Also, they don't meet as they used to do and Mr. Hardy does not attend the meetings. Just for your information the website doesn't give you any updated information. Hopefully, someone from HDEC will respond with updated information. It used to be a very active community group?

Questioner said...

The website may not be completely updated, but it has information such as recent and an upcoming meeting dates and names of people who may have information.

Anonymous said...


Is there leadership in the black community willing and able to change the status quo ?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is a black or white community issue at this point. It is a HUMAN rights violation, what is going on at U Prep. As a white teacher in the hill district, I have been sending this thread out to anyone who will help, rally, speak out, etc.
initially I was looking the treatment of U Prep children as a civil rights violation but at this point, it is a human rights violation.

Anonymous said...

Can you make a clear distinction between what you term as civil rights and human rights?

We know that the kids are not being educated. Is that a civil rights issue or a human rights issue by your definition?

What are the worst violations in terms of human rights?

Questioner said...

Are conditions at U Prep different from conditions that have basically existed at Westinghouse for years?

Anonymous said...

Westinghouse was never totally out of control with fights and fear the dominating climate.

Teaching and learning are serious problems at both schools for whatever reasons, but the total chaos described at UPrep is downright dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Legally, civil rights are protected by the law, right?

Who or what, specifically, protects human rights?

Why is no one considering legal action?