Camalot Todd, Nevada Current
February 5, 2024
A lawsuit accuses Clark County School District of being “deliberately indifferent” to a Las Vegas High School student who was beaten in her geometry class in February 2022.
Law firms Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen and Robert L. Langford & Associates filed the case, Lainez Lemus v. CCSD, in Clark County District Court. They allege the school district violated the Fourteenth Amendment rights of a student, identified by her initials in court documents. ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Athar Haseebullah is serving as an advisor.
Cell phone footage of the attack was widely shared on social media and made national headlines. It shows the student being punched by another student more than a dozen times in the back of her head without intervention. The attacker, who had a history of violence, returned to school after being removed for disciplinary problems before the attack against the plaintiff, according to the lawsuit.
The student suffered serious injuries to her body and nervous system that continued to cause her pain, suffering, and disability, which was a result of the “negligence by school and district leaders.”
“CCSD’s actions here have destroyed a young girl’s life,” attorney Robert Langford said in a statement announcing the suit.
Langford told the Current he hopes the lawsuit sheds light on CCSD’s policy for reintegrating back into classrooms students with histories of violence, and how the district plans to protect students and teachers in the future.
“Our position is that there needs to be a process where the violent student shouldn’t be placed in a classroom,” Langford said.
While CCSD has a responsibility for educating students with violent tendencies, they must do so while ensuring the safety of other students and staff, he added.
Langford said the state law is clear that every student has a right to a safe and respectful learning environment and this lawsuit begs the question of what CCSD could have done to prevent this attack from happening.
CCSD through its communications office said the district does not comment on pending litigation.
The case was filed two years after the incident to allow the student who was attacked to receive treatment, Langford told the Current. In addition to the student’s physical injuries, Langford said, she has also suffered mental trauma, has not returned to school, and struggles within the “simplest of social settings.”
“You go to school and get beaten down and then can’t walk back through those doors and trust that everything will be just fine,” Langford said. “The sad thing is what is done is done, and you pick up the pieces as best you can…but this will always be a part of her and her family.”
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