JEFFERSON HILLS (KDKA) — The Jefferson Hills Police Department is investigating what one family calls repugnant and an abomination, a special needs student forced to drink urine and eat feces.
Police say the parent of the 18-year-old student contacted them earlier this month about an incident at the Steel Center for Career and Technical Education.
Jefferson Hills Police then contacted school administrators, and both are now conducting separate investigations into the incident.
The father of the young man does not want to be identified, but told KDKA that his son is autistic and has bipolar disorder. He also said the boy is now stressed, nervous and constantly rocks back and forth. Since authorities learned what happened, his father says the teen has started biting his knuckles.
Investigators want to know more about three incidents that reportedly happened at the VO-TECH school. The boy’s father says his son was offered money to eat feces, drink urine from a toilet bowl, and that students actually urinated into a bottle, giving it to their classmate to drink.
“The behavior, from what I understand happened to my client, is repugnant and this is an abomination,” said Phil DiLucente, the family’s attorney. “This should not happen in society, let alone a school district, and it’s hard for me to even fathom that this happened to a special needs child. There’s something very, very wrong.”
Police in Jefferson Hills say they were contacted by the student’s parents on Oct. 20.
“All I can tell you at this juncture is, this has been very, very, very emotional for my client and his family. This has caused them great stress,” DiLucente said. “This is not something that should happen in our society, let alone in our schools today, and so, I am hopeful that this investigation that I understand has now been started gets concluded and that those results are shared with us as soon as possible.”
The victim is a student at Bethel Park, while the other students involved are from South Park and West Mifflin.
At least one parent of an accused student says the other kids didn’t know he was autistic, and they didn’t force him to do it.
Police have not given any other details; however, they say “no students are in danger.” They also say the school is cooperating fully with the police investigation.
Steel Center for Career and Technical Education released this statement Monday evening: “Administrators at Steel Center for Career and Technical Education are in the process of conducting an investigation into a confidential student matter. We will provide additional information if appropriate at a later time. Steel Center for Career and Technical Education regards the health and well-being of its students as its highest priority. All appropriate steps are being taken at this time. We have no further comment.”
West Mifflin School District Superintendent Wayne Gdovic issued the following statement: “We have been informed by Administrators at Steel Center for Career and Technical Education that they are in the process of conducting an investigation into a confidential student matter. South Park takes all student discipline seriously and will take appropriate action to protect the health and well-being of all students. All appropriate steps are being taken at this time. As this is a student discipline matter, we are unable to comment further.”
Meanwhile, South Park School District Superintendent Dan Castagna issued this statement: “This Wednesday I have been invited to attend an administrative meeting at Steel Center to discuss the finding of their investigation. This is a sensitive, confidential matter so we must keep all information protected.”
Superintendents from all of the school districts involved are scheduled to meet Wednesday as a part of the ongoing investigation.
The young man’s father says his son is currently undergoing counseling as a result of the reported incidents, and is no longer taking classes at the VO-TECH facility.