PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Five former students and their families are suing the Woodland Hills School District, claiming a culture of abuse.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday at 11 a.m. Their attorneys say they want compensation for all of the students and they want the district held accountable.
The students accusing the district of abusive behavior attended the news conference Wednesday with their families as their panel of attorneys presented yet another video of alleged abuse.
This latest one dates back to 2009.
School Resource Officer Stephen Shaulis and then-assistant principal Kevin Murray are seen walking with a student in the high school hallway. The video shows Shaulis using a Taser on the student and then pushing the boy into the doorway.
There are also videos and recordings from last year and this past spring, all involving Shaulis and Murray.
In one, Murray is heard threatening to punch a student in the face. In another, Shaulis is said to have knocked out this student’s front teeth.
Lead attorney Todd Hollis talked about the evidence presented.
“We have three videos and one audio,” he said. “These videos are what brought this group here today. Our children have been suffering under this divisive thumb presented by the Woodland Hills School District from 2009 to 2017, and not one administrator, other than Joseph Golden, has been charged or prosecuted.”
Golden was a behavioral specialist at alternative school, Woodland Hills Promise. He was charged and fired after allegedly lifting a 13-year-old boy by the neck and carrying him down the hallway.
The key players named in the lawsuit are the Woodland Hills School District, Churchill Borough, former high school principal and football coach Kevin Murray, former school resource officer Stephen Shaulis, who is still employed by Churchill police, and Superintendent Allan Johnson.
Attorney Margaret Coleman said, “We have alleged, in essence, that Woodland Hills has been aware of a policy and practice, particularly at the Woodland Hills High School, of abusing students physically, emotionally and verbally by administrators and police officers assigned to work in that school.”
Many of the students have special needs. Attorneys say those students rights were violated under the Education Act and the American Disabilities Act.