RISD high schools rack up 121 police reports; Instances of self-harm, suicidal tendencies appear in records request from fall semester
Roswell Daily Record - 3/25/2018
Arrest citations for drug-related incidents and fighting were of the most noticeable charges for Roswell Independent high school students this past fall in a public records request made to the Roswell Police Department.
Of the 121 high school reports obtained through the means of an Inspection of Public Records Act request, 15 were for University High School, 45 were for Goddard and 61 were for Roswell High School.
Specifically aimed toward RISD schools within Roswell's city limits, the request focused on all arrest and incident reports made in the fall, from Aug. 10, 2017 to Dec. 22.
This article is the final installment of a three-part series divided by school level.
Of University High's 15 reports, there were nine arrests - four boys, five girls - made to both juvenile and adult students. Of these instances, an Artesia High School girl was issued a juvenile citation for public affray.
In an incident report made in reference to a disorderly student, a teacher once found a student looking at firearms on a laptop. According to an officer's report, when the student spoke with the school's counselor, he gave a response the teacher found disturbing. The student eventually fled through the school's exit doors, where police chased after him at the east side of the school. Police said the student did not comply with the officer and was later put into handcuffs and taken back to the school's office. The male student was then handcuffed to a filing cabinet with an additional pair of cuffs, so he could not leave.
Police said the student's mother later arrived and instructed him to take his medication for his behavior. The student later complied and was released in his mother's custody.
University also had a found-property call, a runaway call which was resolved without injury the next day, and three prior incident reports due to booking evidence.
A total of 21 arrest reports came from Goddard High - 16 boys, five girls. Of these, a University High girl was issued a juvenile citation for public affray after fighting with another female at Goddard High.
Goddard had two reported larcenies. In one instance, a concerned citizen notified police of possible juveniles leaving Goddard High without permission. As a result, police took the students back to school. Police said one of the students was found with stolen items which included a beverage, allergy pills, alcohol, Dulcolax, and chimichangas from the North Walgreens.
The student was also found with marijuana and a smoking device in her backpack. The female student was issued a juvenile citation for shoplifting, possession of controlled prohibited substances, possession or consumption by a minor and possession, delivery or manufacture of drug paraphernalia.
Goddard had two reports related to battery, one of which occurred after a male student driving and his friends were "talking crap" on another boy while he was walking to school.
According to what the student who was walking told police, one student in particular continued to look at him and laugh. The student told police he walked into the classroom where the student making fun of him was and struck him multiple times. The student who was allegedly laughed at was issued a juvenile citation for battery.
Goddard's only criminal damage report came Dec. 1 after the RPD was dispatched to the school in reference to the damage of three security cameras. A security officer told police an unknown person destroyed their cameras Aug. 5. Damages were estimated at $3,500.
Police received a report of harassment at Goddard High after a female student told authorities her boyfriend had been harassing her on a Friday night by continually knocking on the door, ringing the doorbell to their home and sitting in his vehicle near their house. Police advised the student's mother to continue the restraining order process.
As previously reported, authorities were shown a video obtained by the school's principal Dec. 13, which showed a student pulling out what appeared to be a pistol out of his backpack, pointing it at the air and pulling the trigger. Police later confirmed that the weapon was a carbon dioxide-propelled BB gun and that it was not pointed at anyone.
The reporting officer stated he learned that the incident did not disrupt the class. Police said the District Attorney's office declined prosecution since no crime was committed.
The RPD addressed the video the same day, calling the incident a "foolish action."
"The gun was confirmed to be an airsoft gun," the RPD said in a Facebook post. "Disciplinary action is being taken by the school against the student."
Roswell police said parents of GHS students received an automated phone call that Wednesday afternoon informing them of the incident.
Goddard High had two other general incident reports, a report of disorderly conduct and 11 prior incident reports due to booking evidence.
Authorities were contacted by the school's principal regarding a student who told the school's nurse he was not feeling well, did not feel like eating due to lack of energy and was having suicidal thoughts. The nurse also told police the student had signs of cutting himself.
The student was transported to Eastern New Mexico University (note: probably Eastern New Mexico Medical Center) for a mental evaluation.
A similar report came about after a police officer at Roswell High heard a report on a staff member's radio of a female student harming herself in the auto shop restroom. Police eventually made contact with the female, whose arms were being held by a custodian and another student. The female student was taken to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, where she was left in the custody of her mother.
According to a 2009 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey in Chaves County, which utilized data from 2003 to 2009, more than 30 percent of the student participants stated they do have persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness each year, which was defined as feeling so sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in a row that stopped some usual activities.
In another question which asked if students seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months, the response peaked in 2007 at 19.4 percent and then lowered to 14.5 percent in 2009.
Today, while these instances of suicidal tendencies were of the least police reports received from this records request in 2015, the New Mexico Department of Health states New Mexico youth experience a suicide rate more than 60 percent higher than U.S. youth despite how self-reported suicide attempts have decreased among high school students in the state.
According to a fact sheet by the New Mexico Department of Health, actions to be taken if one knows someone who exhibits signs of suicide include not leaving said person alone, removing any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, calling the New Mexico Crisis Line at 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) or the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), taking said person to an emergency room, or seeking help from a medical or mental health professional.
Of this particular request, Roswell High acquired the most incident reports, including its 34 arrests.
Twenty-two arrest reports were made for boys, and nine were made for girls. In addition, there was one woman, a non-student, who had three separate reports due to various bench warrants in magistrate and municipal court.
A Roswell High girl told police that almost a week prior, a male student whom she had been friends with in the past had grabbed her breast and poked at her crotch. The girl told police that after she told the male student to stop, the boy told her he could do it and that nothing was going to happen to him.
The female student told police she withheld the information because she did not want to escalate the situation, but that the incident had been bothering her ever since and needed to report it. The boy denied touching the student's breast and instead said he had been poking her thigh - not her crotch.
"He advised he didn't intend to harm her and didn't think it was unwanted," the report stated.
Police said they would attempt to obtain a district court warrant to charge the male student with battery.
Another battery occurred after a female student approached another girl during breakfast and asked why she had been "mad-dogging" her.
The unanswered question was eventually met with the inquiring student striking the other girl on the head. The girl getting struck covered her head with her arms until teachers separated them. The victim's guardian declined to press charges.
Police were dispatched to the nurse's office in response to a report of battery on school grounds. Police stated as they met with the victim, they observed swelling so severe he was unable to open his right eye. According to the victim and a witness' statement, the suspected student had struck him in the head from behind, catching the victim off-guard. Olivas continued to strike the victim in the face, police were told. The responding officer also reviewed surveillance footage consistent with the statements he had received.
In total, Roswell High had seven battery incidents, four arrest reports related to battery and eight arrest reports related to public affray.
Threats of violence were made after a Roswell High boy allegedly threatened to "put two rounds" in the head of another boy who had been talking with his girlfriend.
Police said school administration handled the discipline and that the student would be advised of criminal trespass on RISD property until his suspension is completed.
There were four incidents reported by authorities pertaining to drug paraphernalia, as well as six charges for possession of controlled substances, and eight for possession, delivery or manufacture of drug paraphernalia.
Authorities made a report of possession or distribution of child pornography after two students approached the school's School Resource Office in his office concerning a video they were shown of two juveniles participating in oral sex.
According to the report, the students told police a boy had been showing people in class the video. Police later learned from the witnesses the incident had happened a week prior. When the officer asked why the incident was not reported immediately, she replied she did not want to "snitch" on anyone.
The suspected student was later asked about it, to which he initially denied knowing about the video. Police asked what kind of videos he had on his phone after asking for the student's consent to look into his phone.
After the student replied that he had videos of him in class, the officer then asked if those "are the only videos you had on your phone."
Police stated the suspected boy began getting more nervous the more the officer went through his phone. "He then said that he did have the video of (the female victim) giving oral sex to (a) male but erased it a few days ago," the reporting officer stated. "I then asked him how he got the video, and he advised he had Airdropped the video from (the victim's) phone onto his phone."
Police said they contacted the victim at another high school, where she stated she did not have any videos of her performing such activity. Police stated she did not seem hesitant in her answers. The case is inactive, pending further leads.
Authorities reported four larcenies from Roswell High, which includes the theft of an iPhone 6S, an iPhone 7, and on Sept. 17, a Ryobi 40-volt blower and Ryobi 2800 PSI power washer had been taken from the gym storage area during the school's summer period.
A Roswell High girl told police that her standard Yamaha flute, serial number YF1-262Y, had been stolen. According to the incident report, the flute was valued at $1,270. The flute was entered in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as stolen property.
There was one criminal damage incident after police reported the paint of a yellow 2004 Ford Mustang had been scratched. Damages were estimated at $5,000.
A runaway report for a 15-year-old Roswell High girl was made after her family reported her missing. The girl was entered into NCIC but was removed after police later found her in good health.
There were six prior incident reports made by the RPD for the means of booking evidence.
In closing of this records inspection, a request of this extent has never been made before, and therefore, there is currently no way to compare this data.
In January, the Daily Record requested permission from RISD's Office of the Superintendent to speak with RISD principals at various education levels to comment as to whether this data appears to have increased or decreased. However, the superintendent's office denied the newspaper access to do so regarding this story.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.