Footage of Las Vegas school student battering classmate just latest in Clark County youth violence

Viral video of student thrashing classmate in Las Vegas is just one of many incidents, experts say outburst because 'kids don't feel safe'


                            Footage of Las Vegas school student battering classmate just latest in Clark County youth violence
A photo from the 2016 administrative kickoff of the Clark County School District (CCSD/Facebook)
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On February 8, MEAWW reported on the viral video of a girl thrashing her classmate at Las Vegas High School. Days before that, a teen at Legacy High School violently attacked a secretary at the school. These are just two incidents that have come to light, as experts warn many more go unreported amidst a spiraling mental health crisis in Clark County. 

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Student violence can sometimes take extreme forms, such as the mass shooting by Ethan Crumbley at Oxford High School. That case has put a massive spotlight on mental health after it was revealed the teen shooter would pursue an insanity defense during the trial. The school conceded it missed several warning signs despite a long history of troubling behavior. Thankfully, gun violence has not yet occurred in Clark County, but experts are extremely worried as cases of violence are rising at a phenomenal rate. 

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It's not just concerning experts, but also teachers. "We as teachers are kind of done, we need to feel safe and we don’t," one teacher anonymously said after the Legacy High incident. Clark County School District Police (CCSDP) called such incidents "rare" in an interview with 8News Now, but new reports indicate it is far from the truth.

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Escalating issues at schools

While cases of violence have been reported all over the country, the fact that schools in Clark County have regularly made the headlines is what has put the county at the forefront of the issue. For example, in the Las Vegas High School incident, classmates can be heard laughing in the background as the girl beats up another student. In the background, someone believed to be a teacher can be heard shouting, "Stop! Stop! Stop! Get off of her!” Similarly, at Legacy High, a 17-year-old student launched an unprovoked attack on a secretary, and also sent a threatening email to a teacher earlier that day.

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A screenshot from a video showing a Las Vegas High School student beating up another student (Twitter)

 

The Legacy High student has since been charged with battery, disorderly conduct, and threatening to cause bodily harm. Back in September 2021, a large fight at Cedar Shoals High School forced the school into lockdown and was only reopened with the presence of law enforcement officers. Rueben D’Silva, a teacher at Rancho High School, told KTNV Las Vegas, "Here at Rancho, we have had an increase of school hall security monitors and I have seen an increase in the amount of school police at events, especially after school events where we have had issues with fights occurring." He added, "It’s a very dangerous place for young people and even staff and faculty."

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Despite the mounting violence, Lt Bryan Zink of CCSDP said, "The school system is one of the safest places for our young people... there is no place safer than these schools in our community." However, news reports indicate that is far from the case. So what exactly is happening? Two experts seem to have figured it out. 

'They tend to develop these reactions'

Sheldon A Jacobs, a leading mental health expert, told Kake.com, "I think when there is instability, it does affect one's mental health, especially a child's mental health. And I think that that also is ... not feeling safe. So when kids don't feel safe, a lot of times, for many, ya know they tend to develop these reactions." That analysis was backed by psychologist Dr Tara Raines, who added, "This violence is a cry for help. The kids are begging us to support them."

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Both experts have put the blame squarely on the pandemic, and the way it has upended children's routines. The increase in uncertainty about their routine, combined with the concerns about Covid and online classes have merged into a deadly mixture. "The fuse is shorter because they don't have the tools to manage this type of stress, to manage this type of trauma," Raines added. 

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Jacobs, who runs a private clinic, also noted a large uptick in "parents reaching out wanting counseling for their children" since the pandemic started. D'Silva acknowledged the issue and called for more mental health experts to be brought in to help. Even Superintendent Xernona J Thomas has conceded that mental health is at the root of the issues. In a September 22, 2021, letter to parents, he said, "students are choosing to resolve their issues with violence rather than addressing them in a non-confrontational manner."

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Experts urge parents to watch out for warning signs, such as weight loss, frequent headaches or stomach aches, persistent sadness, drastic mood changes, or even sudden outbursts. "Seek help for the kids. It's not a reflection of your ability as a parent, on your ability to take care of your family to get outside support from the folks who are trained to support in these types of situations," Raines said. 

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