Pittsburgh’s public opinion obituary: Public opinion obits Pittsburgh schools

PITTMANN, Pa.

(AP) Pittsburgh’s state-run school system is burying the death of a student who died in the rubble of a school building in the city’s historic North End neighborhood.

Pittsburgh Public Schools said Saturday it’s honoring 16-year-old Christopher Brown with the school’s obit.

He died Friday when a fire gutted a building that housed a school that is the focus of a decades-old lawsuit.

The fire, which started in a bathroom, destroyed part of the building.

A fire alarm sounded at 5:10 a.m.

Friday.

It was only about an hour before Brown was pronounced dead.

Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation spokeswoman Jennifer D. Balsamo said the school was trying to locate and bury the remains of Christopher Brown, who died at the age of 16.

“He was a kid who loved to skate, love to skate and loved to play sports, and we just never thought he’d have to go through this tragedy,” she said.

“It was a difficult time for everyone.

We lost our son.”

The PPS board of directors approved the memorial last week, and officials will gather on Friday for the service.

The board has approved the funeral, but not the memorial service, the board said in a statement.

Preston Pappas, the school board’s executive director, said it was a sad day for the school district.

“We’re mourning for the loss of a very special boy, and the entire PPS family is deeply saddened by this,” he said.

The death of Christopher is one of a number of recent cases of death that have rocked the North End, where buildings are often built on the site of former public schools.

The district was among several that filed lawsuits against the city in 2014 and 2015 seeking to prevent the construction of new schools in the neighborhood.

The city agreed to stop building schools, but the lawsuit was dropped when the city agreed not to sue the families of students who died there.

The lawsuit, filed by a group of students, residents and local leaders, alleges that PPS violated state law and federal law by not keeping track of the number of buildings built in the North Side.