ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — Special education and civil rights complaints have been filed against the Woodland Hills School District after several incidents in recent months.
The complaints address the civil and educational rights of five former students, according to lawyers taking on the case. In addition to the school district, former high school Principal Kevin Murray, Officer Stephen Shaulis and the school board are named in the complaints.
Video pertaining to the most recently revealed incident, which is actually from 2009, allegedly shows Shaulis using a stun gun on a student in the middle of a hallway and shoving them against a locker while the principal looked on.
"Why wasn't anything ever done?" asked attorney Timothy O'Brien. "How could any administrator, how could anybody in charge, look at those videos and not hold someone accountable?"
Shaulis was removed as Woodland Hill School's resource officer, but he still remains a police officer with Churchill Borough. The borough named in the lawsuit as well, but no one would give a comment when Channel 11 reached out.
Woodland Hills superintendent Al Johnson also declined to comment.
Shaulis' attorney told Channel 11 his client acted appropriately in the video and was cleared of any wrongdoing.
"It's very very clear, he was attempting to place a juvenile under arrest and used reasonable force at that time," said Phil DiLucente, his attorney.
In November, audio recordings of Murray allegedly making threats of bodily harm against a 14-year-old student were released. Murray, who resigned as principal and head football coach in early August, was briefly placed on leave, but he was never charged.
Murray also came under fire when video of a school resource officer roughing up a student surfaced in April. An attorney for the 14-year-old student claimed the boy’s teeth were knocked out.
Todd J. Hollis Law, Ruder Law and the Law offices of Timothy P. O'Brien collectively filed the complaints. They said more students have come forward with similar complaints of “abuse, education neglect and intimidation.”
“The intended purpose of these complaints is to end the cultural violence and sub-standard education at Woodland Hills that has been directed at our society's most vulnerable members… our children,” a news release from the lawyers said.
Attorneys on the case say this represents a pattern of behavior, which is why a civil rights lawsuit has also been filed in federal court.
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