Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson delivered a strong message Monday to school employees after recent arrests for sexual misconduct sparked an outcry from Henderson parents.
“I think what’s important is it doesn’t matter whether you are a bus driver, a teacher, a school principal, a coach, or any employee within the Clark County School District,” Wolfson said. “If you participate in inappropriate behavior, that’s when my office steps in.”
Wolfson and district officials appeared at a press conference prompted by reports in the Review-Journal and other local media of a group of Brown Academy parents demanding action to protect students. The parents met last Thursday in a Henderson city park following the arrest of a teacher at their school. On the same day, the October arrest of a volleyball coach at Silverado High that had not been reported by the district first came to light.
Wolfson’s comments come as parents plan to take their concerns to a School Board meeting on Thursday. His remarks also came after the district corrected its numbers to show that 10 staff members have been arrested for inappropriate or sexual misconduct with students since July. The district had previously miscounted the total arrests for this school year at 9.
Ten staff members were also arrested in 2015-2016 for such conduct, and 10 the year before, according to district numbers.
A training video that staff members watch reviews various state laws on illegal contact with minors. It also reviews “red flags” of inappropriate behavior.
“A good rule of thumb to remember is if your actions were recorded on camera and shown to everyone, would they be viewed as innocent or would they be questioned?” Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo tells staff in the video.
Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky asked the public to put the number of arrests in perspective: there are about 18,000 teachers and over 40,000 total employees in the district, he said.
“The vast, vast, vast majority of our teachers are caring and they are committed to the safety and the well being of our students in the classroom,” he said. “I want to make it clear, though, that we are not going to tolerate this behavior.”
Staff members undergo background checks with the FBI. But due to a slight lag in the completion of FBI checks at the beginning of the school year, some teachers may be in classrooms before their FBI check is completed, according to Chief Human Resources Officer Andre Long. All employees still must pass a local background check.
But coaches should not be on the field until they pass both local and FBI background checks, according to Long.
Skorkowsky said the training for employees is adequate, although the district can always get more “stringent” in training.
“It is important to note that it is not appropriate for any student to have any type of relations with any adult in that school,” he said. “It is not allowed, it is not appropriate, and they will not only be sought out, but we will work with the district attorney to prosecute to the fullest.”
Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.
Ten Clark County School District employees have been arrested since July 1 on charges related to inappropriate contact with students. The district has provided details about nine of these cases:
—Gregory Beasley, White Academy teacher, three counts of unlawful contact with a minor.
—Jeffrey Schultz, Brown Middle School teacher; three counts of annoyance, molestation of, or indecency toward a minor.
—Willie Bell, substitute teacher, four counts of sex acts with a pupil.
—Randall Minyard, substitute teacher, two counts of lewdness with a child and two counts of sex acts with a pupil.
—Ryan Davis, Legacy High School football coach and substitute teacher; two counts of sexual misconduct between an adult school employee and a pupil, one count of using a minor in the production of pornography, one count of possession of a visual presentation depicting sexual conduct of a child, and one count of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.
—Roger Brown, Arbor View High School athletic director; one count of first-degree kidnapping of a minor, one count of using a minor to produce pornography, three counts of using a minor as the subject of sex portrayal, three counts of sexual misconduct between an adult school employee and a pupil.
—Jordan Turner, Silverado High School volunteer football coach; one count of first-degree kidnapping of a minor, one count of lewdness with a child, one count of sexual misconduct between an adult school employee and a pupil.
— Brian Theophil, Silverado High School volleyball coach, one count of first-degree kidnapping and one count of sex act with a pupil.
— Ati Poni, Del Sol High School campus monitor and coach, four counts of sexual misconduct between an adult school employee with a pupil between 16 to 17, three counts of kidnapping of a minor (first degree), one count of sexual assault.
Source: Clark County School District Police Department