October 19, 2017

Lindsey M. Williams, Esq.
Director of Communications
Office: 412-431-5900
Cell: 412-443-0226

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visgitis released the following statement in response to yesterday’s vicious assault on PFT member Janice Davis-Watkins:

Words are not enough to express my horror about the brutal attack on one of our own yesterday. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers membership go to Janice Davis-Watkins, a teacher at King K-8. Appalled, incensed and enraged are a few of the emotions I am feeling right now. While this frightening incident occurred off school grounds, it was connected to things that happened at school.

Janice is a dedicated and well-respected part of the King community—she is a magnificent person and professional. No educator should ever have to deal with this blatant disrespect of our profession or of our humanity. Our educators work hard every day and put in countless hours to make sure that each and every student is successful. I simply cannot understand this senseless act of violence against an educator.

This horrific attack is the most appalling act that I have had to address in my six years as your president. I know acts of violence like this do not represent our kids or our parents, but it is beyond unacceptable. We as a union cannot and will not stand for this. We all must work together to make sure that we have a positive and safe teaching and learning environment in every one of our 57 schools.

I am urging our members to take whatever precautions are necessary to help protect themselves. I have encouraged our members to contact school police if they feel unsafe and to immediately alert us about safety issues in their schools.

The PFT is working, and will continue to work, with the District to make sure that all our educators and students have a safe environment at school.