A 14-year-old Black Pittsburgh high school student had his teeth knocked out by a school resource officer last Monday (April 3), WPXI reports.
The incident occurred following the alleged stealing of a cell phone, which sparked a “verbal altercation” leading up to the event.
“This is a 14-year-old child,” Todd Hollis, attorney, said during a news conference held on April 5. “This is not a grown man. This is a school, where we send our kids.”
But although the incident is said to be reflective of Woodland Hills High School’s character according to the boy’s parents—who also said the principal, Kevin Murray, was in the room when their son entered his office with the officer—Phil DiLucente, the principal’s attorney, said otherwise.
“He wasn’t involved in the altercation whatsoever,” he told the news outlet. “He knew nothing about the incident occurring until after the fact. So to even put him in this light I think is misleading, and I think it’s wrong and I think it’s incorrect.”
Woodland Hills School District superintendent Alan Johnson released a statement saying they were investigating.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Murray was reinstated as principal in January after being accused of threatening to punch a 14-year-old student last year.
“We are a school district that prides itself on never giving up on a student,” Johnson said. “We believe — and believe strongly — in second, third and fourth chances. Mr. Murray also deserves a second chance and the Woodland Hills School District is going to offer him that.”
From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“He added that Mr. Murray’s behavior was ‘regrettable and unacceptable’ but also ‘totally out of character.’
Mr. Murray, who is in his second year as principal of the high school, has been on paid leave since Nov. 30, when an audio recording surfaced of him threatening to punch a student and telling him he would ‘knock his … teeth down his throat’ during an incident in April. Later, Mr. Murray told the student that if the matter were to go to court, his word would be believed over the student’s ‘every time.’
Confidential disciplinary action has been taken against Mr. Murray, Mr. Johnson said.”