Melee Trashes Classroom at YV Community Day School

YUCCA VALLEY—Things got out of hand this week at the Yucca Valley Community Day School, a specialized campus for troubled students with a problematic scholastic history.
A fight between two students in one class devolved into what was described as a mini-riot that remarkably confined itself to one room. Somewhat miraculously, no one was injured in the fracas that embarrassed both school officials and the sheriff’s department.
By the end of the incident, one juvenile was under arrest for violation of Penal Code 242 – assault/ battery and eight others had been cited for Penal Code 404(a) – participating in a riot.
At around 11:10 a.m. on Tuesday December 8, two students started fighting in a class in the Green Building at the Yucca Valley Community Day School at Yucca Trail and Barberry Avenue. The melee escalated and faculty and staff were unable to quell the disturbance.
Sheriff’s deputies were summoned. Dispatched to the campus were deputy Shaunna Ables and detective Heidi Hague. Informed that at least a half dozen students were out of control, throwing objects, including desks, and pushing and resisting teachers in an aggressive manner, Ables and Hague waded into the breach, succeeding in identifying and removing from the classroom the two students whose fight had touched off the incident. When the sheriff’s officers exited the classroom with the teacher to get an account of what had taken place and were in the adjacent hallway, several students yet in the room boldly slammed the door behind them. Further vandalism to the room ensued, with bookcases being upended and desks, chairs and trash cans being hurled. The two sheriff’s officers, despite remonstrations, were unable to get the students inside to open the door. Within a few minutes, however, a faculty member produced a key and the door was opened.
The sheriff’s officers immediately reasserted command presence, gaining control of the students, interrogating them in successive fashion, sifting their statements, and playing one witness off against another. Through this process they ascertained that one student had engaged in assault and battery and that eight others had willingly participated in the vandalism. The student who had engaged in the assault and battery was arrested; the eight others were cited for engaging in riotous conduct. They were given a date to appear in court to answer the charges and released to their parents.
The Yucca Valley Community Day School is one of more than 350 schools in the Community Day School network throughout the state. Functioning under the aegis of local school districts, Community Day Schools are devoted to salvaging students who have been dogged by truancy, poor performance, lackluster or bad grades and behavioral issues. Community Day Schools employ teachers who are specially equipped and trained to pursue educational and socializing strategies to help such students find self-worth, experience joy in attending school every day, value learning, take pride in academic performance, accept responsibility for their own actions and provide them with a sense of family or belonging within an academic setting, while preparing them to hopefully move back into regular schools. Community Day Schools as a matter of course require teachers with an even greater degree of patience, compassion and assertiveness than teachers in traditional academic settings. Community Day Schools also benefit the students who do not attend them in that they remove from the student population at the standard schools many of the individuals who prove disruptive to the normal academic setting.
An obvious problem with Community Day Schools is that they congregate students with a high disruptive potential. The event in the Green Building classroom at the Yucca Valley Community Day School on Tuesday was an unfortunate manifestation of that potential.

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