PINE-RICHLAND, Pa. (KDKA) — A family in the Pine-Richland School District says their child is being used as a scapegoat for the football coaching staff losing their jobs.
The district says the boy was bullied and hazed. But the family’s attorney, Joel Sansone, says none of that had anything to do with the football team.
Sansone told KDKA’s Bryant Reed that the student was a member of the football team and never wanted any of this to happen. Sansone says the student has faced harassment and death threats after his name was leaked.
“The administration here, using as an excuse, said this Asian-American child’s bullying is what led to the firing of Coach K. That is a complete and utter lie,” Sansone said.
The lawyer believes the superintendent and the school board are trying to make a power move and used the student as a scapegoat.
“My client is the person who’s been desecrated by the administration, to be thrown under the bus as the kid who turned in this coach,” Sansone said.
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Since the student’s name has been “leaked,” as Sansone put it, he says the student’s mental health has deteriorated.
“They begin to make threats, death threats. Threats of violence that throw this poor child into a state of emotional distress,” Sansone said.
Sansone believes because of the poor handling of the situation, Superintendant Brian Miller and School Board President Peter Lyons need to step down.
“You have a man willing to sacrifice my client, to sacrifice the students of this school district to consolidate his political power. That is a man who should not be involved in education,” Sansone said.
School officials said as the details become clearer, they will release more information.
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The district did, however, send a letter to parents, saying, “the Pine-Richland School District is fully compliant with all required notifications, including to state and local authorities like the Northern Regional Police Department. The Pine-Richland School District satisfied all reporting obligations.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Northern Regional Police Department released a statement:
“Not all scenarios can be accounted for. We rely heavily on the common-sense approach as to when the Northern Regional Police Department would need to be notified to intervene, if not spelled out. To date, the current Pine Richland administration has been proactive in collaborating with the department.”
The chief said he has confidence that administrators will continue to consult with the department when school investigations turn into criminal investigations.