Superintendent To Visit North Side Elementary School, Looking For Solutions To Violence

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent is speaking out after two recent incidents of violence against teachers at an elementary school on the North Side.

Fourth grade teacher Janice Watkins was in her car last week after school let out for the day when police say a brick was thrown through her window and she was dragged from her car and assaulted. A parent and her boyfriend are accused in the attack.

Then, on Tuesday, a fifth grade teacher was punched in the face by a student.

“This is very unique. This is not something that’s the norm,” says Dr. Anthony Hamlet, the district superintendent.

Despite how it sounds, Hamlet says violence is not a widespread problem in the school district; although, he admits, he doesn’t have any statistics on how often it happens.

Hamlet: “It’s something that we haven’t looked at as far as tracked. It hasn’t happened as often enough.”

KDKA’s Paul Martino: “You believe it’s rare?”

Hamlet: “Depends on your definition of rare. It doesn’t happen often.”

Hamlet also made a distinction between the attack on Watkins, which happened outside the school, and the more recent assault on a teacher inside the school.

On Wednesday, he’ll visit Pittsburgh King PreK-8 to hear firsthand what happened and to how he can help teachers.

“We want to make sure we provide support for our teachers, our students, our principals and our parents, to make sure they don’t have to resort to violence in any issue,” he said.

Hamlet say one solution may be more counseling for kids who come from troubled homes and communities.

“Some of our kids come to school with some real issues they deal with from the community, from home, so we really want to have that support in place for them,” he says.

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