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Woodland Hills Official Reacts to Swissvale Street Brawl Incidents

The district found itself dealing with issues stemming from two days of afterschool fights in Swissvale

On a day when Woodland Hills School District should have had all attention on the administration of the Keystone Exams, officials found themselves sidetracked by fights that occurred after some high school students departed their buses in Swissvale on Monday and Tuesday.

Substitute Superintendent Alan Johnson posted a statement on the district's website Wednesday referencing the large altercation after school on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at a school bus stop at South Braddock and Woodstock avenues in  Swissvale. 

"The board of school directors and administration of the district are appalled at this incident and we wish to assure all members of the Woodland Hills community and all friends of the Woodland Hills School District that the persons responsible for this will be held fully accountable," Johnson said in the statement

"We are working closely with the Swissvale Borough Police Department and other police agencies to identify any and all individuals who may have been involved in this incident and who are also Woodland Hills School District students."

WPXI-TV reported Wednesday that Johnson and Swissvale police Chief Greg Geppert both said two teens and one adult have been arrested so far police identified 15 of the people involved and said they include 10 students from Woodland Hills junior and high schools and five adults.—and that police stood on every corner of the bus stop on Wednesday after rumors of a third day of fighting spread. The station reported that Geppert plans to hold those involved accountable to the "fullest extent."

Johnson also took a firm stand, noting in his statement that any student found to have been involved in the brawl will be prosecuted to the fullest extent that the Student Code of Conduct, board policies and the Pennsylvania State School Code allow.

"Maintaining a safe and secure environment for our students is the first priority of this school district," he continued. "We believe in supporting students first, last and always. But we also believe that a key component of that support is holding students accountable for their decisions and actions.

Johnson also tried to put the incident in perspective in terms of the number of students involved in the fights.

"We hope that everyone bears in mind that this was a small number of students out of the 4,000-plus young men and women who attend our schools," he said. "The vast, vast majority of Woodland Hills School District students are hard working, friendly and dedicated to getting the best education available anywhere. It is to those students whom we dedicate ourselves everyday for they are the face of the real Woodland Hills School District."

Johnson asked that anyone with questions or inquiries should contact his office at 412-731-1300, ext. 0183.

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Luna January 10, 2013 at 05:46 PM
I agree 100%, E.K. Thank you.
Pat O'Neil January 10, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Personally I don't hold the school district at fault one bit. This is an issue of bad parenting and bad children. Yes, some children are bad, this isn't Mr. Rogers Neighborhood here. We let kids get away with too much these days and they are going to continue to push the bounds. Expel every one of them.
Pat O'Neil January 10, 2013 at 06:19 PM
While I agree that Woodland Hills should not be judged by this, that was a little bit more than "a few" bad apples. That was an orchard full. The only thing I would put on the school district is that I bet a lot of those kids have a long history of disciplinary problems at the school and they haven't been dealt with properly up to this point.
jr January 17, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Isn't this fabulous! Now it's on CNN. Certainly highlights our school district in a great way and does wonders for the resale value of our homes.
Loretta Wilkinson February 04, 2013 at 10:47 AM
What has Alan Johnson done to address this issue? Has he done anything to minimize the chance that it could happen again? What exactly are his credentials, anyway? I understand from a school board member that he misrepresented his experience on his resume to the board, but for some reason was hired anyway. Why was that???

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