In re Interest of Elainna R. (Adjudication)

In this case, Elainna R. appealed an adjudication in the separate juvenile court of Lancaster County finding that she “knowingly and intentionally disturbed the peace of Sief Mahagoub, a high school security officer, by engaging in fighting.”  Elainna and another student were yelling at each other.  Elainna ran toward the other student when the security officer positioned himself between the girls and told them to stop.  The two students continued fighting.  The security officer again told them to stop and with the assistance of another adult was able to separate the students.  The entire incident lasted between 2 and 3 minutes.   The security officer testified that one of his job duties includes breaking up fights, but that this fight in particular disrupted his work day. 


Interpretation of a law, in this case the city ordinance, is a question of law in which the appellate court makes an independent analysis regardless of the lower court’s ruling.  The Court found as a matter of law that a school security officer can be a victim of disturbing the peace, quoting the language of the ordinance, which includes “disturb the peace and quite of any person.”


The Court then proceeded to find, using a de novo review, that the evidence presented at the adjudication was sufficient to support jurisdiction under 43-247(1).  The Court did not discuss whether the evidence was sufficient to show that Elainna “knowingly and intentionally” disturbed the security officer’s peace, but rather focused on how she had to go through the security officer in order to continue the fight with the other student.  In short, they found that her actions threw the security officers “peace and quite into disorder, confusion, interruption, or an unsettled state.”  The order of the juvenile court was affirmed.