Black leaders show support for Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent

PITTSBURGH — Black community leaders came together Tuesday outside of the Pittsburgh Public Schools administrative building to show support for superintendent Anthony Hamlet.

Members of the Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly and a former PPS school board member spoke out, saying Hamlet has been unfairly scrutinized, that “this is about the process and the treatment of African-Americans in education” and the “lack of support” from elected officials.

The group called on the district’s board of education to postpone any actions or statements concerning Hamlet’s status with the district.

The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission recently claimed Hamlet violated state ethics codes related to travel expenses and was reimbursed for travel that the district already paid for.

Last week, Hamlet addressed the criticism he’s received from city leaders.

“I don’t really have any heed to what they say anyway because they have a biased opinion, in my opinion they are biased, even before I got here in Pittsburgh, they had a target on my back. So I don’t focus on that. I focus on the children,” he said.

The district’s school board reviewed the report and said it will consider any appropriate actions to be taken.

But Hamlet’s supporters said the allegations were simple mistakes.

“This report simply says, ‘some mistakes were made, here’s how you correct it.’ There were no sanctions given,” Rick Adams of the Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly said.

Despite that, the leaders said they wanted to speak out ahead of a possible no confidence vote against Hamlet.

“There might be a vote coming up in the next coming days so we wanted to speak to that and ask people to slow their roll,” Adams said. “To ask for a vote of no confidence or removal is feeding into a broad base political attack by privileged elements.”

They also announced a community coalition they are forming.

“This is the start of a campaign to correct these wrongs. It will result in the creation of a community vehicle to address further transgressions against appointed and elected officials,” Adams said.

The organization plans on filing complaints against City Controller Michael Lamb and a number of other officials including the district’s solicitor.