PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will soon begin a comprehensive audit of the Woodland Hills School District.
It will not focus strictly on finances, either. Everything will be examined, including the violence in recent videos.
DePasquale wasn’t scheduled to audit the district until late next year. However, he has seen the violent videos himself. He has received numerous requests from local officials and members of the community and is directing his team to step in now.
“If those were my kids, I’d be outraged,” DePasquale said.
The auditor general cut right to the chase.
“These videos are obviously not something that, thank God, is common in our public schools,” DePasquale said.
He said the time is now for “an independent accountability measure” of the Woodland Hills School District.
“Every kid, regardless of economic background, has a constitutional right in Pennsylvania to get a quality education so that they can have a fair shot,” DePasquale said.
Braddock Mayor John Federman said there is a dark cloud over the district, largely because of the violent videos.
“Young people, sitting in chairs, walking down the halls, getting physically abused and tasered while the principal stands there like ho hum. I mean it’s not The Shawshank Redemption – this is high school,” Federman said.
The auditor general’s office does not have law enforcement powers, but they can and will make recommendations.
“If we find anything that we believe is criminal in nature, I will discuss that with the District Attorney and the Attorney General. And if I feel a federal law has been violated, I will let the Western District US Attorney know,” DePasquale said.
Civil rights and personal injury attorney Todd Hollis, who is representing four of the students in civil rights litigation, publicly thanked the auditor general at the press conference.
“He’s the only one, that is taking out time to speak on behalf of these kids. And I think that says a whole lot about him and his office,” Hollis said.
The work will begin on Oct. 2 with no designated completion date.
The auditor general said he is directing his team to do this as “quickly and thoroughly as possible.”
He will make a public announcement about the findings.