Embattled CCSD trustee addresses complaints against him - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Embattled CCSD trustee addresses complaints against him

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CCSD Trustee Kevin Child (FOX5) CCSD Trustee Kevin Child (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A member of the Clark County School District Board of Trustees is still banned from visiting schools without permission because of an order from Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky. Trustee Kevin Child is now addressing the complaints against him for the first time.

FOX5 learned of the ban against Child in December, but CCSD officials failed to produce records of the complaints filed against him until the Las Vegas Review Journal filed a Nevada Open Records Act lawsuit. A judge ordered CCSD to hand over the public documents.

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"This is the first time I've seen them since I've been a trustee for two years," Child said. "I don't think it's in the best interest of the public when you're holding things back."

Initially, a memo from Skorkowsky stated that Child was banned due to inappropriate "gestures" toward women and making too many unannounced visits to schools that disrupt the learning environment. None of the complaints filed against Child addressed either of these concerns.

Instead, Child faces 16 complaints regarding 8 incidents from individuals whose names have been obscured by CCSD attorneys. Child said he doesn't understand why the names would be redacted.

"I can't retaliate after them. I'm not their boss," he said. "The only person that works for me is the superintendent."

Complaints regarding suicide (4)

Four of the complaints against Child have to do with speeches he gave in front of classrooms through a program called PAYBAC, or Professionals And Youth Building a Commitment.

Concerned teachers wrote emails to the district to complain that Child inappropriately talked about suicide in front of the children. Then, they said he singled kids out by asking them to close their eyes and raise their hands if they've ever thought about committing suicide. He also told them to open their eyes and look around, according to the complaints.

"(My wife) lit five fires in the house, went upstairs and shot herself," Child explained to FOX5. "She was addicted to prescription drugs."

Child said he has given this same presentation "hundreds of times," but it was never a problem until he became a trustee. He said he usually does not go into specific details with the kids and tailors it to their age range. He defended the choice to have kids raise their hands in front of their classmates.

"It's all about evidence-based learning, because then it shows that other kids are going through it," he said. "If I'm doing it wrong, I'll change it, but bottom line is I care about these kids. I do not want to see a student commit suicide or hurt some other kid."

According to the complaints, schools had to go into a "suicide protocol" after some of Child's presentations, which includes extra counseling for kids. Child said he is glad his presentations caused students to talk to counselors before a tragedy took place.

Complaints regarding racism (6)

Five of the complaints against Child concerned a Facebook post he made in 2016.

A letter sent to the school board states, "We were recently shocked to see that Clark County School District Board of Trustee Kevin Child (District-D), posted this outrageous question on his Facebook page last Thursday: 'If protesters are in the road and blocking it and not in the crosswalk... would you run them over?'"

After seeing the post, one employee wrote a resignation letter because of Child's position on the school board. Another complainant circulated a petition asking for Child's resignation.

Child said it's curious that the complaints are only being released now as he calls for an audit of the district's use of taxpayer dollars.

"I believe it's politically-motivated. It's a smear because I'm asking for where the dollars are spent," Child said. "I didn't break any laws."

Another complaint against Child stated that he made a "racist statement" when talking about student-athletes kneeling during the national anthem. 

"Childs (sic) made a statement that caused me (to) realize there was no rationalizing with him," wrote the complainant. "He said the following: 'We gave them their freedom, what more do they want?'"

Child has denied all allegations of racism, stating he fights for every student no matter what color they are. He said he still believes athletes should not be kneeling during the national anthem.

Complaints regarding behavior at public events (3)

Three of the complaints against Child have to do with his behavior at conferences where he represented the district. Two of those three complaints concerned "a severe lack of decorum" at the Magnet Schools of America (MSA) Conference in May, 2016.

The complainants called Child's behavior "extremely unprofessional" as he got into an argument with someone over where he would sit at the conference. They said he was upset he could not sit with the schools that were receiving recognition. They also said he inappropriately complained about his wife's lack of an invitation to the conference.

"I am not thrilled to write this letter, as I know Trustee Childs (sic) is an elected official. I am greatly concerned that he represents any of us," wrote one complainant. "He appeared overly anxious to meet Superintendent Alberto~M.~Carvalho. (I actually watched this scenario and wanted to crawl under a table)."

At another event, "KidsVention" in April 2016, someone wrote to complain that Child was upset when he found out his name wasn't listed in the program and that he wasn't introduced.

"On a personal note, I did 'shush' Mr. Child during Kim Russell's presentation," wrote the complainant. "He was shaking his hand clapper, which was inappropriate at the time. Mea culpa."

Other complaints (3)

One woman wrote that she had a conversation with Child and that he repeatedly "looked at me from head to toe and back which made me uncomfortable."

Another mother complained that Child tried to have a conversation with her autistic daughter, who is shy and "doesn't interact with unfamiliar people."

An anonymous school district employee filed a complaint that he or she heard Child say that he would be "personally attacking the Superintendent and CCSD for their efforts in the re-organization."

All names were redacted. Child labeled the complaints "playground noise."

"I care about these kids, and stuff like this is nonsense," Child said. "I don't go out to hurt anyone."

Support for Child

Lumped in with the complaints, CCSD included letters from people supporting Child. One employee said he or she was conflicted when he or she heard of the superintendent's ban.

"While Mr. Child presents some challenges when he visits our programs, I honestly believe that he has his heart in the right place. He impresses me as someone who continues to advocate for children," wrote the employee. "For that I applaud him. Yes, sometimes his antics are a bit unconventional, but he is at least doing something that may help."

The superintendent responded.

"There was an investigation and these are the guidelines," Skorkowsky wrote. "We must all comply and there are no exceptions. My apologies."

CCSD also released an invitation sent to Child for an event at Desert Pines High School.

"Trustee Child has been extremely supportive of our Magnet Program and the teachers that teach our Magnet Courses," wrote Isaac Stein, the school's principal.

"We appreciate the support you give to Desert Pines HS and all of our programs," wrote Chef Linda Burns. "We would be honored if you would attend."

Child said he routinely receives numerous emails and messages from schools in his district who would love to have him visit their campuses. He said the ban has not affected his job in any way, and he has no plans to sue the district.

A spokesperson for CCSD said they could not comment on the ban or allegations against Child.

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