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'This doesn't happen very often' | UC Davis professor reacts to attack at an Elk Grove high school

Dr. Angela Drake, a clinical professor of psychiatry at UC Davis, who watched the video of the alleged attack, called it shocking – and a rare occurrence.

ELK GROVE, Calif. — A 15-year-old student was accused of attempted homicide after attacking another student at an Elk Grove high school Wednesday.

ABC10 spoke with multiple students who witnessed the alleged attack. They said they saw a student hit another student with a fire extinguisher multiple times. Video circulating online appears to show the alleged attack. 

Dr. Angela Drake, a clinical professor of psychiatry at UC Davis, watched the video of the Monterey Trail High School student assault and calls it shocking – and a rare occurrence.

“I want to emphasize that for parents because a lot of parents are concerned about safety issues in this school. We have hundreds of thousands of kids in school in California, and this doesn't happen very often,” she said.

What’s not rare, according to Drake, is depression and anxiety among teens. She said the rates have been “skyrocketing” in young people since the start of the pandemic.

RELATED: Father of student attacked at Monterey Trail High questions how school handled attack

“Teens and kids, in general, have really been under a significant level of stress and isolation over the last couple of years because of the pandemic,” Drake said. “They've been cut off from their social networks, they've been doing their own thing, they've been isolated.”

Watch: UC Davis professor reacts to attack at Elk Grove high school | To The Point

She’d like to see more mental health professionals in schools, doing regular check-ins with students and teaching coping skills like stress management, resilience, and even good sleep skills.

Currently, however, there’s a shortage of specialty trained child psychiatrists, she said, so she wants schools to find ways – despite that – to equip kids with tools for emotional regulation.

“It may be doing things like training de-escalation and conflict-resolution skills or meditation skills or some other kind of things in the school, because - overall - adding more security officers and more security, where they have to go through metal detectors and they feel like they're in a jail, is not going to help the mood and the general sense of community that we need to build in the schools at this point,” Drake said. We need to build back that sense of-- we're all on the same team. And I think that it's frayed a little bit at the edges because of the pandemic.”

RELATED: 15-year-old back home after violent attack by another student at a high school in Elk Grove

New federal data supports that. Of more than 850 public school leaders surveyed nationwide, a third of them reported seeing an increase in student fights and attacks last year that they believed were influenced by the pandemic and its long-reaching effects.

The 15-year-old accused of attacking Curry Jr. is in custody and is facing two felony counts of “attempted homicide” without bail. The investigation is ongoing.

Watch: 15-year-old back home after violent attack by another student at a high school in Elk Grove

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