LINCOLN — State officials confirmed that several staff members were assaulted early Friday at the troubled Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Kearney.
The incident occurred in one of the male dorms about 1:30 a.m., according to a joint statement from the Nebraska State Patrol and Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the center.
The staff members received injuries that were not life-threatening and the situation was resolved by law enforcement about 1:55 a.m., the statement said. It did not provide any other details.
Khalilah LeGrand, an HHS spokeswoman, said that the matter is still being investigated but that everyone was safe.
“The teams in our YRTC System serve some of our most challenging youth,” she said. “We continue to support our team and provide them with the tools they need to help manage behaviors, facilitate treatment and ensure safety and security of staff and the youth we serve.”
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State Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, said she got information that four boys were involved and they used pieces taken from their beds as weapons. She reported that three staff members were taken to the hospital.
Since August, the Kearney center has housed both male and female juvenile offenders. Most of the teenage boys are in barracks-style housing, where multiple boys share living space.
The girls were moved out of a similar center in Geneva after staff shortages, inadequate programming and deteriorating buildings combined to create a crisis. State lawmakers have since undertaken an investigation of what led to and followed the crisis and are pursuing several pieces of legislation.
The assaults follow an incident last week in which two boys escaped from the center and allegedly stole two vehicles, assaulted a driver and racked up multiple potential charges in three counties.