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VICTOR JOECKS: Jara prepares to handcuff CCSD police

If you think violence in the Clark County School District is bad now, just wait. Superintendent Jesus Jara is laying the groundwork to gut the authority of school police.

On Wednesday, the ACLU of Nevada announced it was representing “Durango High School students who were attacked” by school police. The ACLU claimed an officer was “shown slamming a student to the ground.” The confrontation occurred last week outside Durango, where police were investigating a reported firearm.

“It’s disgusting that school police officers can attack children without being held accountable,” ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Athar Haseebullah said.

That sounds bad. But the video circulating around social media shows something much more benign. It shows students filming two school police officers who are arresting someone. One of the officers steps away to engage with a male onlooker, presumably a student. It’s not clear why the officer approached the student, and maybe he shouldn’t have. Filming an officer is legal. It’s fine to review that.

The student backs up. The video doesn’t clearly show this, but it appears as if the officer turns him into a chain link fence. The student turns to walk away, but the officer pulls him back.

The student stumbles sideways and falls to the ground. It’s not clear why the student falls. He may have tripped over the officer’s foot or lost his balance. He may have been dropping on his own to get away. The officer holds on to the student as he tumbles to the ground. At the end of his fall, the officer twists him so he’s in better position to handcuff him. The video ends with the officer putting his knee on the student’s back and screaming at others to back up.

If the student were white, nobody would care. But the race of those involved fits the left’s preferred narrative that the police are systemically racist. The officer appears white, and the student looks Black. That means it’s useful to attack the police, never mind the specifics.

Unfortunately, Jara appears to be embracing this, too. The day after the confrontation, he issued a statement saying he was “concerned about how one of our students was treated.”

On Monday, he directed the school police Chief Mike Blackeye to review the “department’s use of force policy and protocols.” On Wednesday, Blackeye said the department is “organizing diverse community members to interface and inform school police.” The first agenda item is reviewing the use of force policy. It doesn’t take a genius to realize this is a set up to undermine school police.

These quick moves are in sharp contrast with Jara’s lackadaisical response to soaring violence from students. From the start of his tenure, Jara pushed to reduce suspensions and expulsions regardless of student behavior. That led to more violent occurrences, but it took Jara years to announce the district would punish troublemakers. It’s not clear how aggressively it pursued this either.

School violence will get worse if Jara uses this overblown confrontation as an excuse to handcuff school police.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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