Three students were arrested Friday after police used pepper spray to stop a fight that broke out as the school day was ending at a Las Vegas high school.
A Clark County School District officer responding to the fight at Desert Pines High School between two juvenile females used pepper spray to break up the altercation, said district police Capt. Roberto Morales.
A third juvenile female student who attempted to intervene was also pepper sprayed by the officer, he said.
All three students were arrested. The students involved in the fight were being charged with disturbance of school and the other student faced charges of obstructing a police officer and battery on a protected official.
Morales said officers have to consider circumstances when deciding to use verbal commands, their hands or pepper spray in such an incident.
“In this case, you had one officer, two combatants and a hostile crowd,” Morales said.
The students were treated at the scene with water to flush their eyes and did not request further medical attention, Morales said. The school is located at 3800 E. Harris Avenue.
School police officers also used pepper spray on Aug. 27 to break up a fight between four female students at Clark High School. Two of the students were given citations, which requires them to show up for a court date, and the two other were being dealt with administratively by school officials.
The school district recently launched a new initiative aimed as reducing the “school-to-prison pipeline” for students disciplined for what they define as relatively minor transgressions.
School officials are being encouraged to keep what are termed “focus acts” out of the court system by using in-school strategies of intervention and support. The list includes trespassing, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of less than one ounce of THC, obstruction, disturbing the peace, resisting a public officer, petty larceny, damage to school property and truancy.
Police in those instances are using their discretion to decide when to arrest and when not to arrest students, Morales said. That includes looking at a student’s history.