PPS Announces New School Schedules And Suspends Student Citations



During their recent legislative session, the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Board of Directors approved a new tier-based schedule. As a result, Allderdice will begin at 7:40 AM and will complete at 2:40 PM.

Parents rallied in 2021 to demand reform in the bell schedule for high schools, according to WESA. Superintendent Wayne Walters spoke during the legislative session about the modifications. The superintendent said Central Office submitted the proposal in light of many parent and community calls to start high schools later. A community advocacy group was formed, known as “7:15 is too early”. 

Their website says “early start times are medically proven to harm teen’s physical health, mental health, and academic and athletic achievement. Over 1000 people signed a petition demanding later start times”. The advocacy group says, “our high schools still start at 7:15am, which is earlier than 97% of high schools in the United States”.

The new PPS school schedules are here. Additionally, the Board was poised to address a mounting issue from the community including the 412 Justice organization, regarding student citations. The Board members passed a new annual Code of Conduct with some modifications.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania reports that 89% of PPS summary citations were issued to Black students. During the legislative session, it was noted that mostly Black women were of the majority demographic receiving citations.

Changes were made to modify the current policies on student citations which are issued through agreement of school police and the principal. According to previous district rules, “Some events require a referral to the school police. However, referral to school police does not necessarily mean criminal charges will be filed.”

The Board implemented a moratorium in response, which will temporarily suspend the practice of citing students with summary offenses. These offenses are minor criminal infractions and would require a student to appear in front of a magistrate judge. A letter is typically sent home for the student and their parents or guardians, according to Board Member Pam Harbin during the Agenda meeting. Harbin acknowledged that there was confusion on what faculty members can request these citations as she referenced a specific case where a “teaching assistant” made the request. 

The proposed policy would empower school police to take into consideration the “manifestation of a student’s disability” in a serious case, where Harbin responded “I don’t believe a School Police Officer has any qualification to decide if it’s a manifestation.” This section alongside the whole proposed citation policy in the Code was removed from final consideration and rather the following was approved:

“A moratorium on the issuance of summary citations for PPS students is in effect until a policy and administrative guidelines are created by the Policy Committee in collaboration with the Safety Committee and authorized by the Board of Education. The moratorium will remain in effect until no later than November 30, 2023 and may be extended with authorization from the Board.”

Schools will not be permitted to issue citations to students until November 30 to allow for the Board to make a new process on citations until then.


The superintendent acknowledged that prior to any student being cited, appropriate interventions will need to be enacted. He says, “all of those interventions that we placed in the Code of Conduct are not just generalized things that we came off the top of our heads – they’re research-based. The challenge with interventions is knowing which intervention to use and when.” 

Board members recognized the calls from the community to adjust and review current policing rules as well as later high school start times.