Harassment tops disciplinary issues in school district

Instances of harassment, sexual harassment, misconduct and battery among students on Nye County School District campuses topped the discipline report for the first two quarters.

The report released Tuesday states 468 offenses have occurred district-wide ranging from alcohol to weapons possession among the district’s 5,000 plus students.

District officials are now working on solutions to curtail further acts.

The report showed there were at least 65 instances of harassment in the district’s second quarter of the school year, up by 17 instances when compared to the first quarter.

According to state law, harassment is defined as a threat of bodily injury, verbal or written threats to cause physical damage to another’s property, or threat of physical confinement or restraint.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kim Friel told trustees, the district has altered the way some offenses can be reported.

“On sexual harassment and misconduct, the rules have changed and what we are allowed to count and not allowed to count has also changed,” she said. “Therefore you will see a spike in that until everybody figures out what is going on in that direction.”

Assault, cyber-bullying, drug offenses, along with threats and intimidation were also addressed by school officials.

Friel noted that the new method of reporting such instances has allowed students to use social media to inform administrators anonymously, whether it be the victim or witness.

Sprigeo is an online reporting system for students to report bullying and other safety threats.

“With the Sprigeo reporting system, every school can report bullying, harassment or anything else they are finding which is allowing our principles better access and quick and immediate responses to things.” Friel said.

Friel also said drug offenses have spiked at Pahrump Valley High.

The second quarter district-wide total is 22 at present, compared to just three instances in the first quarter.

“They spiked due to the fact that we have principals that are very much aware and are going after the problem,” she said. “We are hoping that by attacking the problem in the first and second quarter, the third and fourth quarter is going to start to dwindle down because we have a very strong administration team at Pahrump Valley High School that has been doggedly going after the problem as well as up in Tonopah and in Beatty where they have had issues in the past and they are dealing with them.”

The discipline report also showed instances of weapons, tobacco use, fighting and destruction of property in the first quarter saw declines when compared to the second quarter.

Friel also praised the efforts of administrators for the downturn in offenses.

“I want to very much thank the principals because they took this on as their mission this year,” she said. “This is what they are attacking and helping us along with in the truancy and chronic absentee problems. It has been a joint effort.”

To anonymously report bullying or other instances of misconduct on school campuses, students and parents can log on to www.spregeo.com.