South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
Several parents voiced their concern at a school board meeting on Tuesday over how administrators in the South Fayette School District handled a bullying incident that led to the victim being convicted of disorderly conduct.
“Our district policy purports to create a safe environment for students to report bullying, and we assume they're going to be dealt with in an appropriate manner, but it appears like that is a climate they don't have,” said Deb Whitewood of South Fayette, a longtime member of the parent-teacher association. “That's not the culture we want to have here at South Fayette.”
District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet convicted Christian Stanfield, 15, of South Fayette on March 19 of disorderly conduct for recording his classmates' taunts on his iPad on Feb. 11.
Desmet-McGraw, the South Fayette police department and the school's top administrators have been criticized for the way they handled the situation. A half-dozen residents addressed the board during the 90-minute meeting.
Michelle Winterhalter of South Fayette said the district can learn from the incident. “This can start a process where bullying can be handled better,” she said.
High school Principal Scott Milburn and other administrators listened to the seven-minute recording on Feb. 12 and forced Christian to delete it, according to a transcript from the hearing at McGraw-Desmet's office. Milburn called South Fayette police Lt. Robert Kurta that day, claiming he had a “wiretapping incident.”
Kurta told McGraw-Desmet his investigation relied on information from the principal, and he did not hear the recording.
District Superintendent Bille P. Rondinelli said she could not discuss what happened. Other administrators and board members declined comment.
“This is a school issue,” school board President Len Fornella said.
McGraw-Desmet could not be reached for comment.
Christian, diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, comprehension delay disorder and an anxiety disorder, told the judge he recorded his bullies to show his mother the extent of the abuse, according to a court transcript.
Christian is appealing the judge's decision. He has a hearing scheduled in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on April 29.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mt. Lebanon deer-culling corrals sprayed with urine, repellent
- Federal jury says gas company shorted owners on royalties
- Loose barges on the Mon highlight woes of winter’s end
- Roadwork detailed for Pittsburgh’s East Ohio Street
- 14 more arrested in connection with drug trafficking ring
- Pittsburgh has enough salt despite delivery refusal on Thursday, official says
- Police looking for man they say assaulted a 13-year-old girl
- Man sentenced to 71/2 to 15 years for Allegheny County burglary spree
- Drilling group says Wolf overestimates expected tax revenue
- Man accused of accepting bribes to lie about defendants’ drug tests will stand trial
- 4 World War II veterans from Western Pa. honored by French government