PPS student charged, accused of assaulting ‘at least’ 4 school employees

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh Public Schools student is facing criminal charges after police say he assaulted at least four teachers or staff members at his school.

Qvawn Rembert-Leonard, 18, was charged Tuesday with four felony counts of aggravated assault after allegedly going on a violent rampage against the staff inside his school, Oliver Citywide Academy Satellite at Greenway in Crafton Heights.

According to the criminal complaint, Rembert-Leonard was talking on the phone in school about cocaine and fentanyl on Jan. 30.

When a female staff member asked him to stop, the complaint states, “He turned in rage, grabbed and threw [her] across the room.”

His phone was taken by staff and locked in a cabinet.

“If you take away a phone from a teenager today, it triggers an unbelievable emotional response where the kid’s not using their brains,” said Ken Trump, the president of the National School Safety and Security Services.

Trump says violent outbursts among students are becoming more common of late.

“When you look at reasons why young people don’t want to go into teaching, it’s not the instructional part, it’s the climate, discipline, behavior problem that we consistently hear is the number one reason that young people don’t want to go into teaching,” Trump said.

Rembert-Leonard is also accused of pushing a male staff member, wrestling another male employee to the ground and choking him, and swinging at a third.

Then, according to the police report, a female employee told investigators, “I went to the cabinet to retrieve his phone, he came toward me and punched me in the mouth and took his phone.”

Trump believes teachers and school staff need more training when it comes to de-escalation and handling physical violence.

“We need to support our educators with verbal de-escalation training, how to bring kids down, use of space, use of tone, use of engagement, but we also have to have firm, fair, and consistent consequences,” Trump said.

Pittsburgh Public Schools declined to comment, citing criminal charges.

Channel 11 also reached out to the teacher’s union but did not hear back.

Rembert-Leonard has not yet been taken into police custody.

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