Wilkinsburg schools superintendent charged with retaliation against teachers and administrators

Action News Investigates has obtained a report that the Wilkinsburg School District superintendent retaliated against teachers and administrators who were witnesses in an investigation involving the superintendent. The school board hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations of retaliation. Watch the video above for the full report and our attempted interviews with officials. The law firm’s report found “direct evidence of retaliation” against five employees. The report says Superintendent Joe Maluchnik threatened to strip teachers’ certifications and changed duties. In addition, he ordered a director not to receive additional service allowance. Asked about the report, Maluchnik said, “I have no comment and I have no idea what you are talking about.” The report says Maluchnik was trying to find out who sent an anonymous email to school board members that surfaced amid a gender discrimination investigation. school board when the report is released in June. He came across in a very threatening way, Steadle said. The report found that Maluchnik used “veiled threats with the administration and union leaders”; communicated in a “dictatorial and paranoid manner” and showed a “blatant disregard for the protections” inherent in a gender discrimination investigation. justified against Maluchnik. Still, after council attorneys released the report in June, Steadle said the council took no action against Maluchnik. “It was unbelievable. I thought it was definitely the wrong decision. I thought we had clear evidence and clear advice from an expert that we completely ignored,” Steadle said in an email to Action News Investigates board chairman Ed Donovan said, “We don’t comment on personnel matters.” Donovan also declined to discuss the report when Pittsburgh’s Action New 4 asked him about it during of a school board meeting. Steadle resigned from the board in September out of frustration. He said the district’s failure to act on the retaliatory report harmed moral education and impacted student education. “We’re losing a lot of teachers now as a result. They’re leaving because they think their grievances won’t be addressed, which is hurting our district,” he said.Two employees named as victims in the report have de appointed. Two other board members besides Steadle also resigned following the report. Action News Investigates contacted several employees identified as victims in the report. They declined to comment. In a statement sent to Action News 4 of Pittsburgh, the Wilkinsburg School District said the following: “The Wilkinsburg School District has become aware of the WTAE report involving Superintendent Dr. Joe Maluchink released today.” WTAE is aware that the material on which the broadcast is based is clearly labeled as protected by attorney-client privilege and was improperly provided to your reporter without the permission or consent of our school district. The use and publication of this report by the WTAE is inappropriate. “As we have made clear to the WTAE, the Wilkinsburg School District does not provide media commentary on personnel matters and addresses such issues directly with those involved in a discreet and professional manner.”

Action News Investigates has obtained a report that the Wilkinsburg School District superintendent retaliated against teachers and administrators who were witnesses in an investigation involving the superintendent.

The school board hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations of retaliation.

Watch the video above for the full report and our attempted interviews with officials.

The law firm’s report found “direct evidence of retaliation” against five employees. The report says Superintendent Joe Maluchnik threatened to strip teachers’ certifications and changed duties. In addition, he ordered a director not to receive additional service allowance.

Asked about the report, Maluchnik said, “I have no comment and I have no idea what you are talking about.”

The report says Maluchnik was trying to find out who sent an anonymous email to school board members that surfaced amid a gender discrimination investigation.

“I felt pretty angry about it personally because I don’t think this type of offense warrants this type of response,” said Eric Steadle, who was a school board member when the report was released in June. .

“The superintendent seemed to have worked to instill fear in these employees and threaten them. He came across in a very menacing way,” Steadle said.

The report found that Maluchnik used “veiled threats with the administration and union leaders”; communicated in a “dictatorial and paranoid manner” and showed a “blatant disregard for the protections” inherent in a gender discrimination investigation.
He said the district faces “potential liability for retaliation and a hostile work environment” and that the board should determine whether discipline is warranted against Maluchnik.

Still, after council attorneys released the report in June, Steadle said the council took no action against Maluchnik.

“It was unbelievable. I thought it was definitely the wrong decision. I thought we had clear evidence and clear expert advice that we completely ignored,” Steadle said.
In an email to Action News Investigates, board chairman Ed Donovan said, “We don’t comment on personnel matters.”

Donovan also declined to discuss the report when Pittsburgh’s Action New 4 asked him about it at a school board meeting.

Steadle resigned from the board in September out of frustration. He said the district’s failure to act on the retaliation report hurt teacher morale and impacted student education.

“As a result, we are losing a lot of teachers. They come out because they think their grievances will not be addressed, which makes our district suffer,” he said.

Two employees cited as victims in the report have resigned. Two other board members besides Steadle also resigned following the report.

Action News Investigators have contacted several employees identified as victims in the report. They declined to comment.

In a statement sent to Action News 4 of Pittsburgh, the Wilkinsburg School District said the following:

“The Wilkinsburg School District has become aware of the WTAE report involving Superintendent, Dr. Joe Maluchink, released today.

“WTAE is aware that the document on which the broadcast is based is clearly labeled as protected by attorney-client privilege and was improperly provided to your reporter without the permission or consent of our school district. use and publication of this report by WTAE is inappropriate.

“As we have made clear to the WTAE, the Wilkinsburg School District does not provide media commentary on personnel matters and addresses such issues directly with those involved in a discreet and professional manner.”

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