LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A group of about a dozen students and youth activists gathered outside the Clark County School District administrative building Wednesday afternoon to demand the removal of police officers at schools.
The students carried signs and spoke about the experiences they’ve had with school police officers.
"There was a fight at my school and the young man was tackled to the group, and the police threatened to pepper spray everyone around us and they ended up pepper spraying,” Spring Valley High School sophomore Ruth Dinberu said. “A lot of the students came back to my class with their eyes burning."
The students believe the funds that provide the salaries for the school police officers should go to education instead.
The demonstration follows a survey released this week that found that students often feel targeted by police, have negative interactions with police and students overwhelmingly favor other education resources over more funding for police and security.
A few counter protestors showed up to the demonstration outside the CCSD building. One woman carried a sign that read “back the blue”.
A CCSD mother and district employee showed up with a sign and stood apart from the protestors. She wanted to show her support for CCSD police.
"I feel very strongly with the time that I've spent in the high schools that school police are very much an essential piece to our school communities,” Kelli Varrato said. “They're a positive presence trying to keep everyone safe."
CCSD also responded to the protest and said the campus police are an important fabric of the district.
"Our biggest priority is to keep students and employees safe,” the district said in a statement. “We strive to treat all students fairly and provide them with early interventions before behavior problems escalate. This will ensure our schools are safe places and our classrooms are more productive, while helping to keep our students on the right track.”
CCSD has 168 sworn officers, according to the district.