After violent incidents, Oliver Citywide students will be relocated to other buildings

PITTSBURGH — The doors of Oliver Citywide Academy will remain closed this school year, and a new district plan will move both students and teachers to four satellite schools. The announcement comes just months after a student was killed right here in front of the building, the second student murdered in just 16 months.

“People didn’t want to go back in that building,” said Nina Esposito-Visgitis, the President of Pittsburgh’s Teacher Union.

Just hours after Pittsburgh Public Schools announced their plans to close Oliver Citywide Academy the district’s primary special education school, we sat down and spoke with the head of the teacher’s union who said, “It was the right call.”

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“The whole trend is inclusion, and having students return to as close to home as they can. I think we will not see another group of students at OCA,” Esposito-Visgitis said.

The decision comes on the heels of yet another tragic school year for OCA students and staff.

Just a few months ago, Derrick Harris, 15, was gunned down by a fellow classmate, Jaymier Perry, in front of the building. In 2022, Marquis Campbell, 15, was killed while sitting in a school van outside of the building.

Those tragedies are what expedited a plan that the president of the teacher union said was already in motion.

“These discussions were occurring before; what the teachers did was give their preference sheet they did have a voice in this,” Esposito-Visgitis said.

The new, “Future-Ready Special Education Plan,” will move both oca teachers and their students to four satellite schools but keep their staff and student body separate:

  • A maximum of 40 students in grades 6-12 will attend Greenway Middle School - Crafton Heights
  • A maximum of 12 students will attend Perry High School - Perry North
  • A maximum of 12 students will attend Milliones U-Prep - Upper Hill District
  • A maximum of 18 students in grades 3-8 will attend King k-8 - Allegheny Center

“They will receive the same services absolutely the same support,” Esposito-Visgitis said.

While the district said its security at the new site will remain the same. Esposito-Visgitis confirmed that no teachers or paraprofessionals lost their jobs, and all that wished to move have been placed.

“They are at their new sites now and I commend the district for bringing them in early,” Esposito-Visgitis said.

As for the building, we reached out to the district to see what their plans were, but they did not answer those questions.

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