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In 2016, Woodland Hills student Dorthee Fish, then 13, went to the bathroom to address an issue, which made her late for class. When she emerged, school Resource Officer Stephen Shaulis confronted her about being late for class and pulled her into the school resource office, where he allegedly slammed her head into a wall, and on a desk, multiple times.
“She was concussed, so when we took her to the hospital, I had them weigh her,” said her father, Donald. “She weighed 68 pounds. Shaulis is 6’4’’ and 220 pounds. And they charged her with disorderly conduct.”
On Aug. 23, Lawyers representing Fish and four other former Woodland Hills School District students filed federal civil rights charges against Shaulis, the district, Superintendent Alan Johnson, former principal Kevin Murray, assistant principal Patrick Scott, Churchill borough, Churchill police officers Stephen Shaulis and Chris Lewandowski, and Dynasty Security, which provides additional security at the school.
All of the students are Black, and some suffer from emotional and physical limitations. Three are former students, two remain in the district but do not attend the high school. All were criminally charged following their interactions with Mr. Murray, the school resource officers or security guards.
“The district was aware of this abuse, and made up charges (against the children) to cover their unconstitutional actions,” said attorney Margaret Coleman. “It’s not just that they are lying, it’s that the lies pushed these kids into the criminal justice system. It has been going on for years. They knew about it and took no action to prevent it.”