Incident shocks parents


Rachel Wikene drives her daughter to a magnet school far from home.

The daily commute might seem like an inconvenience, but Wikene was grateful that her child does not walk to school after learning that a student was kidnapped Monday outside of Mackey Elementary School.

"I'm horrified," Wikene said Tuesday afternoon as she sat outside the school in her car waiting for her daughter.

Police said the two suspects, Laurinda Kay Drake and Elaine Clermont, told them they picked up the 6-year-old student around 9 a.m. and drove him to a Clark County School District office to make a point about lax security at the school.

Wikene, who has concerns about the safety of students she has seen outside after the start of classes, did not think the women, who are Mackey parents, were justified.

"Who kidnaps a child to make a point?" Wikene asked. "Shame on those women."

Many parents, including Wikene, were disappointed because they said the school did not tell them about the kidnapping. Because they were unaware of the incident, many were perplexed to see TV news vans parked near the school Tuesday.

Parents who were interviewed were not very critical of school safety measures. Many said it was unfair to blame school officials for something that happened on the street.

Some praised school officials for being scrupulous about following security procedures.

Mackey is "always locked up during the day," said John Monroe, a grandfather of a student. "They make sure you are who say you are when you're picking up a child."

Mackey officials declined to be interviewed, but school police Lt. Ken Young said security at Mackey has been increased.

He added that the incident showed that system safeguards were in place. When the student did not show up to class, calls were to made to the child's family, and the investigation began, he said.

Authorities did not release much information about the victim but said he was not harmed and not related to the suspects.

Both women were in the North Las Vegas jail Tuesday and declined to be interviewed.

Clermont is no stranger to the Clark County School Board. She often has come to board meetings to complain about Mackey.

At the Aug. 28 meeting, Clermont demanded that Superintendent Walt Rulffes "pay attention to me while I'm speaking."

Without much explanation, she handed out big block letters to School Board members but said, "The B is for (board member Shirley) Barber," who was absent.

Clermont then talked about her disappointment with Mackey because the school was not taking full advantage of a song her family had created during a sleepover party for her daughter and classmates.

"We're from L.A.," Clermont said. "We think differently."

She told the School Board she imagined that the song would become a smash hit and make money for the school.

"We can hear that song being played under a Disney movie," Clermont said. "We can hear it being played attached to a Nike commercial. We can see residual income for Jo Mackey, our art trademarked ... to use and exploit for all kinds of commercial waves."

Clermont said this was "parent support" the school was "throwing away."

She has complained about the songs chosen by the school music teacher for class.

At the Aug. 28 meeting, Clermont predicted that she would be arrested over music, "because I have to protect my daughter from the music teacher."

During the same meeting, Clermont also said she regretted that School Board incumbents Ruth Johnson and Mary Beth Scow could not be re-elected because of term limits.

"I didn't realize you guys were terming out," she said. "I voted for you (in the primary). It's a big loss."

Review-Journal writer Lawrence Mower contributed to this story. Contact reporter James Haug at jhaug@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4686.

 

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