A Pennsylvania high school principal was recorded on a student’s cell phone berating and threatening the teen in an expletive- and threat-filled tirade. Now, the teen’s family is demanding action, KDKA (Pittsburgh) is reporting.
The incident was recorded in April, but the video has only now been released to the media and the public.
According to family attorney Todd Hollis, Woodland Hills High School Principal Kevin Murray had berated and threatened the unidentified 14-year-old special education student several times before. The teen’s mother had gone to school officials, as well as various police departments, for help. No one would believe her, Hollis says.
“The child felt he had to tape it in order to get credibility. No one believed that the principal would or could do such a thing.”
— WTAE-TV Pittsburgh (@WTAE) December 1, 2016
Finally, the teen was able to get one of the principal’s tirades on video. The context of the video is not clear, but according to Hollis, Murray was berating the boy for “an earlier incident.” In the video, which you can see below, Murray can be heard saying such things as “I’ll punch you right in your face, dude” and “I’ll knock your (expletive) teeth down your throat,” according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Warning: The video below contains content that may be disturbing to some readers.
Hollis said that actions like Murray’s “cannot be tolerated.”
“My client indicated to me that he was being bullied, threatened and harassed by the principal, Kevin Murray, on more than one occasion. That can’t be tolerated. Any parent sending their child to school expects their kid would be sent to a safe environment. The child felt like he had to tape it because his credibility was at issue.”
On the Monday before Thanksgiving, the teen’s mother was able to schedule an interview with Woodland Hills Superintendent Alan Johnson. There, she played the recording. Johnson again heard the recorded when a KDKA reporter played it for him on-camera.
“Obviously, it’s a very disturbing thing. There’s no way in the world that we would condone the use of that kind of language from an employee to a student.”
— WarOnWomen (@WarAgainstWomen) November 30, 2016
Having heard the recording, Johnson made the decision to place the principal on leave pending further investigation. Johnson says he intends to interview other Woodland Hills staff who may be familiar with the principal’s interactions with the student who recorded him, as well as his interactions with other students, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I want this to be done very quickly. When I have all the information, I’ll make a judgement on what took place and I’ll make a judgement on whether there will be disciplinary consequences and what those should be.”
Meanwhile, family attorney Todd Hollis is hoping the family can get justice from the courts if the school district fails to satisfy them.
“Maybe the principal should be terminated. Monetary isn’t the primary goal, but certainly the family wants to be commenced for the threats this principal made to this child.”
Kevin Murray is not the first school official to have been recorded behaving in a questionable way towards a student. In March of 2015, according to WPTV (West Palm Beach), an 11-year-old girl recorded a teacher bullying the student. School officials responded by suspending the student for recording the teacher without his permission.
Do you believe Woodland Hills principal Kevin Murray deserves to be fired for the way he spoke to a student?
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