Brashear, South Hills will be on 'modified lockdown' after shooting



Security will be tighter today at both Pittsburgh Brashear High School and the adjoining South Hills 6-8 in Beechview.

Pittsburgh Public Schools officials announced that both schools will be on a modified lockdown for the rest of the week as a result of the shootings Wednesday that wounded three Brashear students. Only students, staff and visitors with a scheduled appointment will be admitted to the schools.

School police will be present, aided by additional mobile units in the area. City police will be on site for arrival and dismissal times.

Counselors will be on hand for the remainder of the week.

The schools share a building. The middle school is in a self-contained wing of the building, which once housed only the high school. With 1,416 students, Brashear is the largest high school in the city. South Hills has 580 students.

Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services in Cleveland, said he believes the district's modified lockdown for the school this week is reasonable.

"It's very common after these to see tightened and heightened security in the days after the event. Part of that is you have an ongoing investigation," he said.

In the days after such an incident, he said, the affected school is "probably one of the safest places to be."

Brashear is largely a school to which students are assigned based on where they live, but it houses computer science and teaching academy magnet programs. In addition, Brashear is one of two teaching institutes in the city where teachers competed for positions with additional responsibilities.

Named after astronomer John A. Brashear, construction of the high school was approved in 1971 as one of five super high schools, but it was the only one to be built.

Because the building ultimately was too large for the number of students, South Hills Middle School was established in a wing of the building in 1996.

In fall 2012, students from Pittsburgh Langley High School were reassigned to Brashear when Langley closed.

According to the state's Safe Schools report for 2012-13, Brashear did not have any gun incidents that year but did have 97 other incidents involving 138 offenders.

The list includes 47 incidents of fighting; 19 of possession, use or sale of tobacco; 13 of possession or use of a controlled substance; four of possession of a knife; three of simple assault on a student; and one of sale or distribution of a controlled substance. There were also five incidents involving a weapon other than a gun or another listed weapon as well as two thefts, two bullying incidents and one each of vandalism and criminal trespass.

There were 1,012 out-of-school suspensions and three expulsions, all for less than a calendar year.

The report said Brashear had six school security officers.

Four of the five years preceding last year had no gun possessions listed on the Safe Schools reports. There was one listed in 2011-12.

The last Pittsburgh school shooting was outside Carrick High School in 2005. Ninth-grader Keith Watts Jr., 16, was killed in a drive-by shooting a few hundred feet outside the school. Two other Carrick students with him were wounded.

Three people were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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