In the wake of three incidents of violence, Evergreen School District plans added security at Heritage High School

Two incidents in the past week took place near the school’s campus and a third occurred Friday on school grounds

In response to three separate incidents of violence in the past week on or near the campus of Heritage High School, the Evergreen School District is taking additional security measures with an eye on the safety of students.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) responded to a shooting near Heritage High School on Feb. 18. That incident took place just south of the school and left one juvenile male with a gunshot injury to the arm. CCSO reports indicated at least 20-30 Heritage students had gathered around during the incident, which reportedly was the result of an ongoing dispute among rival gangs.

In response to three separate incidents of violence in the past week on or near the campus of Heritage High School, the Evergreen School District is taking additional security measures with an eye on the safety of students.
File photo

This morning (Feb. 25) at about 10:40 a.m., CCSO deputies responded to the school for an assault with a knife on school grounds.  Deputies arrived and contacted several Heritage students and one Mountain View High School student. The Mountain View student brought a knife to the incident and suffered a laceration to the arm. Another student also suffered a minor injury.

A concerned citizen informed Clark County Today of another incident Wednesday. Like the Feb. 18 incident, it was not on school grounds, but took place nearby. The citizen said there is video evidence of a gun being present at the incident, which was described as a fight, but it was not used. 

There is no evidence available that any of the incidents are related. However, the district is taking additional security measures beginning Monday (Feb. 28).

“Starting on Monday we will have extra security at Heritage High School,’’ district Communications Manager Craig Birnbach wrote to Clark County Today in an email response Friday. “This extra security will remain in place for at least the next two weeks. We are exploring every possibility to work with local law enforcement, students, parents and other community members to keep our students and school safe.’’

Birnbach also indicated that the district’s Director of Security Shane Gardner met with law enforcement and school administrators on Feb. 18 to help with that investigation. Gardner was also at Heritage Friday working with law enforcement and school staff to support their investigation into today’s incident.

Birnbach said it had not been determined how the Mountain View student was able to enter the Heritage grounds with a weapon to participate in today’s incident.

“This is still part of the investigation and I don’t have the specifics,’’ Birnbach said. “I can say, Heritage High School is made up of multiple buildings on a large campus. Therefore there are many entry points to the buildings and portable classrooms that students are able to enter and exit. Students routinely enter and exit these buildings to attend classes, go to common areas, or athletic fields and the track.’’

Heritage Principal Derek Garrison sent an email to members of the school’s community after the Feb. 18 incident and again today.

Here are Garrison’s comments in the Feb. 25 letter:

“I wanted to make you aware that there was an incident at Heritage High School today that involved a non-Heritage student entering school grounds with a knife and then becoming involved in an altercation. School staff called 911, emergency responders and police then arrived at the school to take care of an injured student and investigate the incident. According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, during the altercation, the non-Heritage student received a laceration to his arm by the knife he brought onto school grounds.

“We understand this information is alarming. The safety and security of our students and staff is a priority. We do not tolerate unsafe behavior and will follow appropriate policies and procedures in responding to student actions that do not adhere to these rules. We encourage a “watch and warn” culture in our schools and invite students and families to share information with us so that we can prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future. 

“At this time, we are unable to provide any more specific information about this incident. However, we are investigating, along with local law enforcement, and will take swift and appropriate action to ensure the continued safety of students and staff.

“Please contact me if you have questions.’’

On Feb. 18, Garrison wrote:

I want to make you aware of a lockout incident at our school today.

“Our campus was temporarily placed in lockout by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office due to law enforcement activity in the area. The lockout was in place for about 40 minutes this afternoon and was lifted as soon as we were given clearance by CCSO. 

“Our students at the high school were safe and never in danger. The lockout was a precautionary measure by our local law enforcement partners. 

“Please know we take these situations very seriously, and the safety of our students is always a top priority. If you have any questions, please contact us.’’

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