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Violence at Boulder Creek shows no trend

Alex Stevenson~ 11/5/2014

ANTHEM – Despite the media firestorm surrounding the assault on a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Student Resource Officer (SRO) at Boulder Creek High School on Oct. 23, students and officials regard the issue as an isolated one.

The incident, which began with the SRO’s attempt to bring one of the youths into custody, and escalated when two other students intervened, ended with different charges for three juveniles – including aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.

“It happened right before school, or just as it was starting, so I only got word of it in first period,” said Boulder Creek junior Rachel Lynn.

“It’s just one group of kids who thinks it’s cool to do this sort of bad stuff, it’s sad more than anything. They’re just throwing a couple years of their lives away because of it.”

Despite the drama, Lynn says that she’s not worried about this sort of incident occurring again, nor has she seen anything quite like it.

While noting that security was not overwhelming at the school, Lynn said, “I don’t feel particularly unsafe. We don’t have a big incident count of events like this, I don’t really know of anything similar occurring.”

Debbie Taylor, a security monitor at Boulder Creek, who has worked at the school for over eight years, attests to this.

“This hasn’t escalated,” Taylor said, when asked whether she noticed any sort of trend in violent incidents at the school, and went on to say that she’d never seen “anything quite like it.”

As for the students?

“I don’t know if they knew what they were doing, but I guess they thought they could get away with it,” Taylor noted.

Lauren Sheahan, Principal at BCHS, had an interesting perspective on the matter, believing that preparation and education on issues like these definitely counters the need for further police intervention.

The school contacts outside emergency assistance “when we believe that there is potential threat or danger to a student, or to the campus as a whole,” Sheahan said.

“In this particular incident, we had a student security officer on campus already who was involved (in the incident) from the very beginning, but as part of sheriff’s protocol, he asked us to contact 911 for him.”

Sheahan also said that the school is “hardly ever” put in a position where calling the emergency services is necessary.

“In my seven years at BCHS, this sort of incident (meaning those necessitating outside police involvement) has occurred maybe three times, very infrequently. We consistently work with the Sheriff’s Dept. in that we have an SRO on campus at all times already,” Sheahan said.

“He’s involved more as a safety presence, and as a resource to have knowledge of law – so that if we needed to either inform a student or parent of their legal obligations, we can call on him.”

In having these MCSO liaison-measures in place already, Sheahan believes that the school is a much safer place:

“There remains a heightened sense – at the school level – for a safe place for students and teachers. Through extensive training, pre-planning, and intervention, there has been, if anything, a reduced need for an increased police presence.”

Representatives from MCSO Anthem East and DVUSD communication officials were contacted but did not return calls.