PITTSBURGH - A security guard for the Steel Valley School District who was fired after the district said he “initiated aggression” against a student at the middle school is now facing charges.
According to a statement from Edward Wehrer, superintendent of schools for Steel Valley School District, the security guard, identified as 28-year-old Shaun Thomas, was escorted from the property Monday and fired by the school’s contracted security firm.
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Munhall police were notified by the district and are investigating.
An investigator from Munhall police said that after interviewing witnesses and looking at surveillance video from the school cafeteria, the security guard was charged with harassment and simple assault.
“I want to assure our parents and community that we make student safety a priority every day and Steel Valley is truly a caring place for our children,” Wehrer wrote in the statement.
Only Channel 11’s Brandon Hudson talked to the 13-year-old boy’s mother, who did not want to be identified, about the incident.
“I was told a security guard pushed my son’s head into a lunch table,” she said.
The boy’s mother said he is doing well and attended class on Tuesday. She said her son should not have talked back, but said that was no excuse for the guard to act the way he did.
"You have to respect adults, but in spite of what happened, no one has the rights to put their hand on a minor. I could see defending yourself, but to just put your hands on a child, that's not acceptable,” she said. “From what the school authorities were telling me, they were very proud of the way my son conducted himself.”
The boy’s mother said she wanted charges to be filed against the security guard.
According to the criminal complaint, Thomas told the students that “he plays too much and he needs to sit down.” A witness told police that while the victim was sitting down at a table, Thomas “pushed (the student’s head) into the table,” the complaint said.
Police said the school’s vice principal also witnessed part of the incident.
"(The vice principal) noticed it was a heated exchange. The guard was chest-to-chest with the victim and was yelling in the victim's face. Thomas had the victim backed up against the table, and he couldn't move away,” the criminal complaint said. “(The vice principal) said during her involvement that the victim didn't say anything inappropriate."
Thomas told police a different story.
According to the criminal complaint, he told police that the student cursed at him, grabbed his pants leg and threatened him.
An investigation into allegations against Drew Schifino, the boys’ basketball coach at Steel Valley, is also underway by the district’s board of directors.