Hamlet issued a statement saying he had gone to Florida to see his mother who is undergoing treatment for bone cancer.By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There is a new controversy surrounding Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamley and a recent trip to Florida.

Photos have surfaced of him out with friends and not wearing a mask. This comes at a time the district’s students have not stepped foot in a classroom in almost a year.

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“I was absolutely outraged,” said parent Jennifer Murtazashvili.

Murtazashvili had three kids in Pittsburgh Public Schools until three weeks ago.

“We pulled them out to homeschool them because the quality of the remote learning was so bad,” Murtazashvili said. “And our kids weren’t learning. They were suffering from mental anxiety from sitting in front of screens all day long,” she said.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

On Thursday, she saw the pictures reposted from Hamlet’s private Facebook page of him out with friends recently at a restaurant in Palm Beach.

Hamlet and the others are seen huddled together wearing no masks and drinking “adult drinks,” according to the woman who originally posted the pictures. All this when Murtazashvili says her kids and others are stuck at home.

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“And to see our superintendent having a great time in Florida with people while these kids in our school district are suffering so much, I think it is really shameful,” she said.

KDKA contacted the school district for an interview but instead, Hamlet issued a statement saying he had gone to Florida to see his mother who is undergoing treatment for bone cancer. He said he makes no apologies and is committed to bringing students back to school.

“The man that went to look after his mother is the same man that is looking out for your children. And one of the worst things we can be doing now is contributing to the problem by taking our focus off of our shared priorities for our schools, families and students,” Hamlet said. “I am focused on priorities that matter.”

The nature of this controversy is not new to Hamlet. Back in 2019, KDKA first reported he and his top administrators took an unauthorized junket trip to Cuba with a district vendor. The trip included hotels, dining, snorkeling and cave diving.

Prior to that, KDKA also exposed the many trips Hamlet had taken at the district’s expense, averaging one a month to cities throughout the country — some multiple times.

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The district said Hamlet was on a private trip, but parents say the picture send out the wrong message.