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‘We will receive justice’: Parents, advocates allege Palo Verde student wrongfully expelled

Updated November 10, 2023 - 7:19 pm

Parents and local organizations Thursday called on school officials to act after they said a Black student who was being bullied was expelled despite being the one attacked.

Palo Verde High School expelled senior Davine McClodden after a Sept. 29 incident in which, according to her mother, Kristal McClodden, she was jumped by a group of students accused of bullying her.

At a news conference outside the location where the Clark County School District Board of Trustees would later meet, McClodden was joined by local advocates for Black students and fellow parents to call for change.

“I don’t want my daughter to return to the school. I don’t trust them. She does not trust them,” McClodden said of the high school in Summerlin. “I just don’t feel like there should be any kind of expulsion on her record because even as they stated she’s never been in any trouble before.”

The bullying started last school year and continued this fall and included taunts about her brother’s 2020 slaying, she said.

McClodden said she continued to alert school officials about the bullying while it was happening.

“When I had my first appeal at the school level, the principal told me that they were aware of the issues but they didn’t consider it bullying,” McClodden said.

CCSD provided a statement that did not address the allegations but said in part that it is “dedicated to inclusion as the foundation of emotional, social, and academic growth and support for all individuals. Students of all races, ethnicities, cultures, religions/beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic statuses, abilities, and living arrangements fill our campuses. We do not tolerate behaviors that threaten or impact student access and safety.”

The statement referred to the district’s student code of conduct as the source of all disciplinary recommendations.

Palo Verde High School could not be reached for comment before publication Thursday.

DeVon Carroll, a student who jumped in to help Davine McClodden, was also attacked by the group and later expelled, McClodden said.

“She has a parent that’s not just going to allow it,” McClodden said. “I’m going to fight for her, and she’s going to be an example for a lot of change.”

Speakers compared the expulsion process to the criminal justice system in that the panels and decision makers along the way were nearly all white or not Black.

Kyle Rogers, a teacher at Peterson Academic Center, said that while Black students make up about 16 percent of the district’s student population, they make up about 40 percent of suspensions and expulsions.

Akiko Cooks, co-founder of No Racism in Schools, demanded a revision of CCSD’s expulsion process and an investigation into the expulsion of Black students at Palo Verde. Cooks, with the parents of Davine McClodden and DeVon Carroll, went from the parking lot into the board meeting to share their message with the trustees.

“They talk about my body, call me names, ask why my brother got killed,” Davine McClodden told trustees during the meeting.

Kristal McClodden followed her daughter’s comments by saying that district policies need to be changed and that Black girls are subject to over policing in schools.

“Our statement has been made, the voices have been heard, and we will receive justice for these families,” Jshauntae Marshall, co-founder of No Racism in Schools, said to close the news conference. “Our Black children are not disposable. As mothers we will continue to choke the system until we cut the pipeline to prison off.”

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com.

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