Concerns Arise After Three Students Shot In One WeekBy Amy Wadas

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WOODLAND HILLS (KDKA) — Over the summer, the Woodland Hills Commission on Youth Development and Learning was formed to advise the district on policies such as discipline and graduation rates.

Summer Lee is an attorney and 2005 graduate of Woodland Hills. She serves on the Woodland Hills Commission on Youth Development and Learning.

“I can imagine a lot of these children are trying to figure out where can they go that’s safe,” said Summer Lee.

Lee said the students in the district are dealing with the normal stressors of school like tests and where they’re going to college, and don’t need violence to become the focus. But now she believes they’re asking questions like: “Will my friend pull through? Will I be next? If I’m at the bus stop, can I be injured too?”

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“There has to be parental accountability. Parents need to know where their children are. They need to say what’s wrong. If they need help, cry out for it until you get it,” said Braddock Borough Council President Tina Doose.

Doose also serves on the commission. While she says preventing violence starts at home, the district needs to work harder to make sure students are getting the opportunities they need to succeed as well as the community as a whole.

“We need support. They need something to do. They need activities. It’s important we work together to make this happen,” said Doose.

“The reality is they’re coming from a neighborhood that’s impoverished, suffers from disinvestment and has a lack of resources. We have a school district that’s not well funded,” said Lee. “We cannot change gun violence until we look at the real root of why these children or adults are acting the way they do and part of that is hopelessness.”

“I’ve reached out numerous times to Stephen Zappala’s office. Never have I gotten a call back,” said Doose. “If you look at the number of cases involved in Allegheny County, our district attorney has not worked to solve these cases. There’s so many unsolved cases.”

The district attorney’s office says Doose did reach out about two months ago and are in the process of attempting to set up a meeting. The DA’s office also said they appreciate the concerns of the officials in the communities that make up the Woodland Hills School District.

The district attorney’s office said there is no indication that students from the district are being targeted.

Allegheny County Police don’t believe the shootings are connected.

Doose said the commission will be going to the school board to address these concerns and present some recommendations. She said they hope to meet with the school board in the next two to three weeks.

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