• Woodland Hills forming commission to look at student discipline, other issues

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    Woodland Hills School District officials are forming a commission after allegations that school officials abused students. 
     
    “We can never have another year like we had this year,” Woodland Hills Superintendent Al Johnson said. 
     
    Two surveillance videos.at the center of the investigation made national news. One video shows a student being picked up and body slammed by a school resource officer. Another video shows a student in a fight where his one of his teeth was knocked out.

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    “What we saw there was an incident in time. It was not good and I'm not proud of it, and I wish it didn't happen,” Johnson said. 

    The district hired a public relations firm for $350 an hour to deal with the fallout of negative national attention.

    But he said the videos show just a small piece of the puzzle. He said there is something more going on in the district and the community, which is why he’s starting the commission to look at the challenges facing the district. 
     
    “There will be some who say this is a handpicked team who will tell you how great you are. No, it's not.” Johnson said. “We want a critical – with a capital ‘C’ – analysis of what we’re doing. … I need to hear the bad stuff.”
     
     
    The commission includes the state’s former secretary of education. Johnson said he wants to focus on student behavior, student discipline, the district’s discipline data, the district’s discipline policy, code of conduct, training levels for staff and diversity awareness. 
     
    “This has been the roughest, roughest year. If I didn't believe in Woodland Hills, I wouldn't be sitting here having this conversation,” he said. 
     
    Johnson said he hopes to have the commission’s report by the start of the school year so they can implement changes. The district is still asking for other people to be on the commission. For more information, email commission@whsd.net
     
    "What are you upset for now, that you weren't upset about then?" asked attorney Todd Hollis. "Why are you moving to make changes now when you didn't do so then?"
     
    Hollis, who represents the teenagers in the videos, said the new plan is coming from that public relations firm.
     
    "These videos speak for themselves," Hollis said. "He had a rough year because he allowed it to happen."
     
    The district attorney's office is investigating what happened in the video. When Channel 11 asked the superintendent if he thinks there should be charges, he said he couldn't comment.
     
    Parents also tell Channel 11 they will be paying close attention to what happens with the commission because for some, it could mean staying in the district or leaving.
     
    "I think there should be some changes made because we've had a lot of issues in the district," said Sharon Carter, a grandparent and substitute teacher for the Woodland Hills School District.


     

     

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