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What can Clark County School District teachers do to break up fights?

CCSD fight still
Posted at 4:40 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 23:18:37-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — If there’s a fight in the classroom, what can a teacher even do? It’s a question Clark County School District teachers are asking as they try to figure out how to de-escalate a fight from getting out of control.

“It made me sick to my stomach. To see that happen to a kid, to anybody is bad enough," said Carmen Andrews.

Andrews is disgusted to see the videos and reports of violence on Clark County School District campuses. Having taught nearly two decades in a CCSD classroom, she takes the safety of her students seriously.

“I care about my students so much, there’s no way I could not get involved because I could not physically stomach seeing one of my students hurting one of my students,” she said.

RELATED STORY: Vegas mom claims daughter was attacked at school, CCSD trustees meet over school violence concerns

While she’s never had to actually break up a fight, Andrews says many teachers are hesitant to intervene as, legally, they can’t touch students without consent.

“The reality is, it could come back to haunt you if you accidentally hurt a kid trying to break up a fight,” she said.

The Clark County Education Association says teachers aren’t trained to break up fights. Under the collective bargaining agreement with CCSD, schools are supposed to have a plan in place for teachers to call for help, like school police officers, if something happens.

“In that moment, will the assistance get there quick enough? That’s the issue," said union president Maria Neisess.

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Neisess says in extreme situations teachers can take action if they’re being attacked.

“There is an NRS where educators and staff are allowed to defend themselves — but again, to what level?” she said.

Rancho High School teacher Rueben d’Silva would like to see a good Samaritan clause be considered by district officials.

“Teachers who do get involved and break up fights. They’re not going to be held liable from lawsuits from parents or other folks putting their hands on students if, in good faith, they were trying to break up a fight,” he said.

Several CCSD trustees have brought this exact issue up about providing clarity for teachers in these situations. That’s going to be a topic of discussion at a board meeting next month.