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Clark County students, teachers demand district take steps to curb violence

Updated April 28, 2022 - 11:05 pm

Teachers and students slammed the Clark County School District at Thursday’s School Board meeting for not doing enough to make campuses safe amid a recent spike in violence.

About two dozen educators, students and residents gathered outside the Edward A. Greer Education Center ahead of the board meeting with signs calling on the district to “do something” and protect teachers. Students and staff then spoke at the meeting about feeling unsafe and said that promised safety measures haven’t been implemented at their schools.

“CCSD has failed to keep us as students safe,” student Gianna Archuleta said. “CCSD has failed to protect the very people that they’re meant to serve for. Students have been standing up, building the courage to speak at these board meetings, sacrificing hours that we normally spend doing homework or extracurriculars to come here and tell you what is happening. We need you to listen to us.”

Teachers have staged more other protests around the district this month. After a teacher was beaten and sexually assaulted at Eldorado High School on April 7, students and staff gathered outside the high school to ask for the district to do more.

In response to the Eldorado assault, the school district announced new protocols and safety measures that include increased police presence in and around district schools and new communication systems for teachers to reach leadership and security from their classrooms. Last month the district also unveiled new disciplinary actions, including potential expulsion for students who engage in fighting.

But some teachers at Thursday’s protest said those changes had yet to take shape at their schools.

“Enough is enough,” Tarkanian Middle School teacher Kelly Edgar said. “I will not be placed in the position of having to wear a panic button to teach, nor will I take responsibility for preventing school violence. That responsibility is yours.”

In a statement sent to parents and employees last week following the arrests of three students in separate assaults at Las Vegas Valley schools, the district said that violent acts, assaults and bullying would not be tolerated. The district also said it would not disclose the details of increased security measures “except to those who need to know.”

In a rebuke of district leaders, Indian Springs teacher Alexis Salt slammed board trustees and Superintendent Jesus Jara for inaction. Salt said none of the trustees or Jara were at Eldorado following the attack on the teacher and accused them of being disconnected from the concerns of teachers.

“Dr. Jara and all of you in your nice office, you have security … you have cops here,” Salt said. “Why are you more important than the kids that you claim to serve?”

Salt repeatedly called on Gov. Steve Sisolak to call a special session in the Legislature to address the emergency. A petition created by Salt calling on the state to step in and get more money and resources to address school violence had 210 signatures as of Thursday.

“If you all aren’t brave enough to stop it, if your re-election and the cash that comes from certain friends is worth more to you than the lives of children, then we’re going to need to ask Steve Sisolak and the Legislature to get involved because someone is going to get killed,” Salt said.

Contact Lorraine Longhi at llonghi@reviewjournal.com. Follow @lolonghi on Twitter.

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