Attorney Argues Student Assault Cases Handled Differently Based On Race

WOODLAND HILLS (KDKA) — Several cases of alleged assaults against students in the Woodland Hills School District involving staff seem to be treated differently when it comes to who will face charges and who will not.

Cases of alleged assaults on students in Woodland Hills date back to 2015, but as of Tuesday, only one employee accused has been charged and could lose his job.

“What more do you need? You got the video,” Todd Hollis, the attorney representing the victims, said. “My understanding is [Shaulis] is still employed. My understanding is that Murray is still employed.”

Most recently, 50-year-old Joseph Golden III — a behavior specialist, a person hired to keep the calm at alternative school Woodland Hills Promise — was charged with simple assault and endangering the welfare of children.

He allegedly lifted a 13-year-old boy by his neck and carried him down the hallway, and there is video of the incident.

“You got an African-American teacher in one instance who assaulted a child, and by every right, that person should be prosecuted and held responsible,” Hollis said.

But civil rights attorney Todd Hollis argues similar cases involving Woodland Hills High School principal Kevin Murray and the former school police officer Steve Shaulis, who are both white, were never charged.

DA Stephen Zappala says the Golden case was thoroughly investigated, and his office made the decision to charge him.

In the case of Officer Shaulis, who is no longer in the high school…

“That has civil rights implications, so we are working with the FBI right now,” Zappala said. “It’s a different kind of matter involving a police officer and whether or not excessive force was used.”

In the case of Murray, he was never charged but disciplined by the district.

“I’m not going to make the decision based on the ethnicity of the persons involved,” Woodland Hills School District Supt. Alan Johnson said. “It is based on laws of Pennsylvania, the school code, our policies and procedures and things of that nature, but the ethnicity has nothing to do with it.”

Knocks on Golden’s door went unanswered. He has been suspended, and the superintendent says the district is working to terminate him.

In the meantime, Hollis says he interviewed two more students Wednesday who he may represent. They too say they were assaulted by staff in the Woodland hills School District.

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