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What can CCSD teachers do when a fight breaks out?

Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 11:51 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - School violence and what can be done about it dominated the conversation as Clark County School District leaders came together for a school board meeting Thursday, March 10.

Educators expressed frustration, worried about the safety of their students and themselves, some said they don’t know what they are supposed to do when a fight breaks out.

“We are hearing from our teachers they are scared, the kids are scared, what can we do right now?,” questioned Trustee Linda Cavazos after a presentation on violence by students in CCSD schools.

Mike Barton, CCSD’s Chief College, Career and Equity Officer said the district is challenged by the significant staffing shortage.

“We want do things right now, deploy central resources strategically at those campuses that may be having more violent acts, but right now we are filling vacancies that perhaps on Fridays range at 25 vacancies,” Barton said.

While teachers want to protect their students, they could be held liable if they touch them even if breaking up a fight.

“I still have no clue what I am supposed to do if a fight breaks out in my classroom,” CCSD teacher Sarah Comroe said.

“One of my schools, Desert Oasis, is out of control this exact minute,” said Danielle Ford, who argued action needs to be taken now. Trustee Ford asked Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara to clarify what a teacher should do if a fight breaks out.

“There is training that goes through and that was shared, and I can’t go into further details given the potential litigation that we are under,” Dr. Jara said.

“If a teacher isn’t sure where to get that training could you maybe direct them as to where they could find that information?,” Ford asked.

“Their school principal, Article 12 in CBA,” Dr. Jara answered.

FOX5 tracked down the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the teacher’s union and the district.

It states:

“A teacher may use reasonable and necessary force as provided for by NRS 392.465″ Nevada’s law which prohibits corporal punishment.”

That law allows “use of reasonable and necessary force” by school staff for “the purpose of self-defense or the defense of another person.”

However, CCSD policy also states the school district’s legal counsel is not obligated to represent the teacher if they are sued.

Click here to view the CCSD policy.

ARTICLE 12 TEACHER PROTECTION FROM ASSAULTS AND/OR BATTERY 12-1 Each principal shall develop and communicate to the faculty emergency procedures which shall include a method of rapidly communicating a need for assistance in emergency situations when a potential for physical harm is evident, or when immediate assistance is required. Emergency procedures will also include methods for providing rapid assistance in emergency situations when a potential for physical harm to the teacher is evident. The provisions of 12-1 shall be implemented prior to the first day of student attendance, and shall be included in faculty handbooks. Principals of year round schools shall communicate emergency procedures annually to the faculty at an appropriate time. 12-2 When a teacher becomes aware of an actual or potential danger, or of an emergency situation, the teacher shall immediately report such danger or emergency to the teacher’s immediate supervisor. The supervisor shall immediately investigate and take appropriate action. 12-3 Any teacher involved in an assault or battery within the scope of the teacher’s employment shall immediately make a written report of the circumstances thereof. The teacher shall make supplemental written reports attaching copies of any summons, complaint, process, information, indictment, notice or demand served in connection with such assault or battery within five (5) days after having been served therewith, and report the final disposition of any such proceeding. All reports referred to above shall be made to the teacher’s principal or immediate supervisor. 12-4 Such reports shall be forwarded immediately to the school trustees through the Superintendent’s office. In the event civil or criminal proceedings are brought against the teacher, the school trustees shall comply with any written requests by the teacher for information relating to the teacher’s defense in the school trustees’ possession not privileged by law. 12-5 In the interest of teacher safety, the board shall cooperate with law enforcement agencies. Supervisors shall request assistance from law enforcement agencies when warranted. 12-6 In a civil proceeding the superintendent and the School District’s legal counsel shall upon request give advice and counsel to the employee involved in the assault and battery. However, the School District’s legal counsel shall not be obligated to officially represent the teacher in the civil proceedings. 12-7 If the teacher is a defendant in a civil proceeding which is within the scope of public liability coverage provided by the School District, the provisions of that policy will govern the conduct of the defense of that case. In the event the teacher hires his/her own legal counsel in such a proceeding the School District will request its insurance attorney to cooperate with the teacher’s personal attorney within the scope of available insurance coverage. 12-8 If the teacher wishes to file a criminal complaint, the superintendent or his/her designee and the administrator in charge of the school or department shall assist and cooperate with an assaulted employee in making his/her criminal complaint against either an adult or juvenile offender. However, this shall not be construed as obligating the superintendent or any other official representative of the School District to participate as a complaining party with the assaulted employee. The School District reaffirms its policy to do everything possible in support of a teacher who is assaulted while acting within the scope of his/her employment in accordance with School District policies and direction especially when attempting to maintain order in a school. 19 12-9 Employees will be provided time off without loss of pay when appearing in a court proceeding which requires the employee to testify regarding a matter related to the employee’s duties. However, monies received for a subpoena, less transportation mileage reimbursement, shall be remitted to the Clark County District Accounting Department immediately upon receipt of the monies for the subpoena. 12-9-1 Otherwise, an employee who is required by law to appear in court as a witness may access earned personal leave, earned annual leave or may take unpaid time off as necessary for such purpose provided the employee provides the employee’s administrative supervisor reasonable advance notice. 12-9-2 Leave without loss of pay will not be provided to an employee having a personal interest or benefit from participation in the proceeding or if the proceeding is between any employee and the District. 12-9-3 Any employee subpoenaed by an employee organization to appear at any hearing relating to labor relations matters shall not be granted leave with pay except as provided in a negotiated agreement. 12-9-4 The district retains the right to require employees to serve as witnesses without loss of pay. 12-10 In the event civil or criminal proceedings are brought against a teacher and the teacher is cleared of said charge, all written reports, comments or reprimands concerning actions which the courts found not to have occurred, shall be removed from the teacher’s personnel file. No reference to criminal charges as described above shall be included in the personnel file. Entries into said file as they relate to civil or criminal proceedings described above shall be limited to violations of School District policy or administrative regulations, which are known beyond a reasonable doubt to have occurred. 12-11 A teacher may use reasonable and necessary force as provided for by NRS 392.465. 12-12 The verbal abuse of a teacher by students shall not be tolerated.

NRS 392.4633 (Replaced NRS 392.465)

1. Corporal punishment must not be administered upon a pupil in any public school.

2. Subsection 1 does not prohibit any person from defending himself or herself if attacked by a pupil.

3. As used in this section, “corporal punishment” means the intentional infliction of physical pain upon or the physical restraint of a pupil for disciplinary purposes. The term does not include the use of reasonable and necessary force:

(a) To quell a disturbance that threatens physical injury to any person or the destruction of property;

(b) To obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous object within a pupil’s control;

(c) For the purpose of self-defense or the defense of another person; or

(d) To escort a disruptive pupil who refuses to go voluntarily with the proper authorities.

(Added to NRS by 1960, 60; A 1979, 1616; 1987, 1013; 1993, 2622; 2009, 921; 2017, 2090)