LAS VEGAS (AP) – A 16-year-old high school student has been jailed in Las Vegas and will face trial as an adult on charges of sexual assault and attempted murder following an after-school assault on a teacher , officials said on Friday.
Las Vegas police said the female teacher was punched and put unconscious and the student fled the Eldorado High School campus before another school employee found the teacher and called police and medical aid.
Police said the woman was treated for multiple injuries.
The student was arrested by school police several blocks from the campus that serves about 2,000 students several miles east of downtown Las Vegas. His name and the teacher’s name were not immediately made public.
On Friday, school administrators issued a statement to parents calling the attack “an isolated incident,” and Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Zara sent a message to staff stating safety was “our top priority.”
“I am devastated, and the CCSD family is hurt for the assault on the teacher at Eldorado High School,” Zara’s message read. “Our hearts are heavy at the violence against him, and we pray for his full recovery.”
But the violence was only the latest for the sprawling district, the nation’s fifth largest with more than 300,000 students and 18,000 teachers in nearly 336 schools – including more than 70 high schools – in an area the size of New Jersey. The district began a weeklong spring break after classes were canceled on Friday.
A 17-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday after a loaded gun was found on the floor of a school bathroom at Northwest Las Vegas High School.
On March 29, a campus police officer fired three shots at a moving car that had hit a girl in a Las Vegas high school parking lot amid reports of a fight. Four teenage non-students were in the car. The driver and a passenger suffered minor injuries, and the girl who was hit by the car did not suffer any serious injuries.
A day earlier, a 36-year-old mother was arrested near Henderson High School and charged with trying to kill two schoolgirls by driving into her vehicle to stop her from fighting with her daughter after a brawl on campus. Police said the injured girls had broken bones, but they were expected to recover.
In early March, 11 people were arrested, including an adult, who allegedly attacked Southwest Las Vegas during days of student fights, social media threats, classroom lockdowns and an unproven report of guns. had barged into the Vegas High School campus.
In February, videos posted on the Internet showed a high school student attacking a girl sitting at a desk, hitting her with about 35 punches in the back and side of the head.
Zara, which was suddenly fired by the school board in October and reinstated nearly three weeks later without any public explanation, recently issued a public petition calling for an end to the violence. He attributed it to the “tension, anxieties and isolation of the (coronavirus) pandemic”.
The school district police chief said that since the school opened in August, campus police have reported 3,000 assaults and fighting and confiscated more than 25 guns.
“As I have said before,” Zara said in her message on Friday, “violent acts, assaults and bullying will not be tolerated … and those who choose to engage in these activities will be subject to the law. Will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”
School Police Lieutenant Brian Zink said the teen arrested after Thursday’s attack was taken to the Clark County Jail and will face charges as an adult.
Las Vegas police said he has been charged with attempted murder, sexual assault, battery, kidnapping and robbery. It was not immediately clear when the juvenile would face the judge or whether he would have a lawyer. The charges against him could land him in prison for the rest of his life.
Las Vegas police said in a statement that investigators determined he had entered the teacher’s classroom “to talk about his grades.”
“At some point, (the student) became violent and started punching (the teacher) and strangling her until she lost consciousness,” the statement said.