Protesters demand charges in alleged assaults of Woodland Hills students

PITTSBURGH — Dozens of parents, activists and members of community groups from the Woodland Hills School District demanded change Thursday outside the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office in Downtown.

Several allegations of abuse by district officials – some prompted by security video clips – prompted calls for justice.

"Now that it's out there, they don't have no choice but look at us and listen to what we have to say," said Vernesa Hines, a parent in the district.


No charges have been filed.

The protesters had a list of demands, including that DA Stephen Zappala recuse himself from all investigations of suspected cases of abuse in the district. They also want charges filed against Principal Kevin Murray and a school resource officer for their parts in the alleged abuse, and charges dropped against a student involved in one of the incidents.

"We need change in the school district, we need accountability. We need change in how District Attorney Zappala looks and reviews cases,” said Tina Doose, president of the Braddock Borough Council.

Zappala’s office said any decisions will be based on evidence gathered in the cases.

While protesters call for change, the attorney representing Murray and the school resource officer wants something different.

"We can't comment, since it's under investigation, about everything that actually transpired in the incident,” said Phil DiLucente. “But I am asking for a call of unity."