PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A student is in custody after allegedly assaulting a staff member at Oliver Citywide Academy Thursday morning.
School police were notified about an assault shortly before 9 a.m., a Pittsburgh Public Schools spokesperson said.
Sources tell KDKA-TV that a teacher was physically and sexually assaulted inside a classroom. The teacher was in a classroom sitting next to the 6-foot-3, 250-pound student when the 15-year-old boy grabbed at her clothes, sources say.
A struggle ensued and the two ended up on the floor, with the teen on top of the teacher, according to sources. She tried to yell for help, sources said, but the student had her in a headlock and slammed her head on the floor. She tried to escape and make a phone call, but the student threw the cell phone across the room and threatened to kill the teacher, sources said.
Another teacher heard noises and entered the room, and the student was taken into custody. Sources say school police turned over a six-minute video of the alleged attack to Pittsburgh police.
Police released few details, only confirming a student assaulted a staff member. When asked what kind of assault and if the staff member was a teacher, they only said they can't comment. The district spokesperson said the school was placed on a modified lockdown as an extra precaution, meaning no one was allowed to enter or leave the school without an appointment.
Sources say police got a search warrant for the teen's DNA and he is not being charged as an adult at this point.
Right now, sources say, the student is being held at Adelphoi Village. And at last check, the teacher is still in the hospital.
Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, released a statement to KDKA-TV, saying:
"This is obviously an extremely serious and concerning situation. Right now, out of respect for the ongoing investigation that continues to be conducted, The PFT does not have an in-depth statement. However, the Pittsburgh Federation Of Teachers will continue to do everything possible to support our members that have been affected by this disturbing and reprehensible event. Every teacher must be respected, protected and provided with every support they need every day and and in every school."
KDKA-TV asked to interview Superintendent Wayne Walters, but a spokesperson declined. KDKA-TV also contacted a handful of school board members and the solicitor but no comment.
"It's just sad to me," said one mother after school on Thursday. "Teachers already put their lives on the line. It's still (coronavirus) out here, and for them to get assaulted by a kid is just too much. It's just too much for me."
When she arrived at dismissal to find news crews, she said she asked school officials what was going on and was told a female teacher was assaulted by a male high school student.
"If I'm not mistaken there are only two security guards throughout the whole school and for it to be a middle and high school, they have to search all those classes and walk the halls with only two security guards. Do they need to hire more security? Maybe."
The district said it notified families of the assault and modified lockdown through a robocall.
Friday is a half day for students, and the district said Oliver Citywide Academy students will learn remotely "due to staffing shortages."
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