More students come forward alleging abuse at Woodland Hills

This screengrab from surveillance videos released Tuesday by attorney Todd Hollis shows an incident involving a Woodland Hills student being subdued in a school office by police and school officials.

An attorney representing two students who claim they were abused by administrators at Woodland Hills High School said Tuesday that two more students have come forward with similar stories.

Todd Hollis, who represented an unidentified student earlier this year after the student recorded high school principal Kevin Murray threatening to “knock his … teeth” down his throat, said his office was contacted last week by federal investigators who are looking into “incidents of abuse” at Woodland Hills High School.

“Four kids have been injured as a result of some conduct by one or more administrators at the high school,” Mr. Hollis said.

Vernesa Hines, the mother of a 14-year-old Woodland Hills High School student who recorded his principal threatening him, wept briefly during a protest Friday outside of the Allegheny County Courthouse in Downtown Pittsburgh.
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He released surveillance video Tuesday that showed school resource Officer Steve Shaulis and Que’Chawn Wade, 14, step into an office where they got into an altercation that concluded when the officer punched out the student’s front tooth. The student had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital, where his tooth was sewn back into place.

Que’Chawn was charged with resisting arrest, simple assault, aggravated assault and making terroristic threats in the April incident and his case is still pending in juvenile court, Mr. Hollis said.

A second video clip shows a March 2015 incident involving a former Woodland Hills student being grabbed by Officer Shaulis and thrown to the ground. In the video, Mr. Murray is seen helping to hold the boy down while Officer Shaulis shocked him with a Taser. Mr. Hollis said that student was acquitted of resisting arrest, but received probation on a disorderly conduct charge.

“They make you flinch when you see what they did to that young man,” said Tim O’Brien, the attorney representing the fourth student. His client is a 15-year-old girl who alleges similar altercations and “fabricated” criminal charges in two incidents at the school in 2015 and late 2016.

Mr. O’Brien said he and the girl’s family are considering filing a lawsuit.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office has been investigating whether Officer Shaulis, an officer with the Churchill Police Department, used excessive force in the April incident. The results of that investigation will be shared with the FBI.

District attorney spokesman Mike Manko said investigators are aw

are of the surveillance videos.

Authorities say Joseph Golden III is shown in surveillance video picking up a 13-year-old student by the neck and carrying him down the hallway on April 12.
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“As we have previously stated, we are working with other agencies, both state and federal, to determine what if any crimes have been committed and which venue best addresses the issues presented,” he said in an email. “The investigation is ongoing and, when appropriate, we will comment further.”

Mr. Murray was placed on paid leave in December while the school district and the district attorney’s office investigated the allegations against him.

He was reinstated in January and the school board appointed him as head high school football coach during a meeting last month.

“Principal Murray has nothing but love and admiration and respect for the over 10,000 children he has seen go through the Woodland Hills School District doors and become productive members of our society,” said Phil DiLucente, his attorney. “However, he will not tolerate misbehavior.”

Mr. DiLucente, who also represents Officer Shaulis, said the officer remains on duty, but is not currently stationed in the school due to the investigation.

Superintendent Alan Johnson said the district was cooperating with the investigation and said the 2015 case was adjudicated.

“We are disappointed that Mr. Hollis is attempting to take a small number of widely separated incidents and spin them into a conspiracy or a pattern of abuse that simply does not exist,” Mr. Johnson said.


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