Pat, Personally

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Protecting Our Kids

We know the vast majority of our Clark County School District (CCSD) employees and volunteers are dedicated to our students and act appropriately around them. We also know that parents and members of the community are understandably concerned about news reports in recent years on arrests involving sexual misconduct allegations against CCSD employees or volunteers.

Over the past few months, CCSD has been working to set appropriate boundaries and methods of communication for employees/volunteers and students. We worked to strike the right balance between allowing employees/volunteers to develop trusting relationships while also protecting students from the rare person who wants to take advantage of that trust.

In August, the Board of School Trustees approved Policy and Regulation 4100, which was the result of input from numerous working groups and public meetings. The regulation and policy outline appropriate interaction and communication between adults and CCSD students:

  • Communication with students should be through “logable” online platforms that track conversations such as Google Classroom or remind.com. This is for the protection of students and employees/volunteers.
  • Employees and volunteers should only text students in a group message with other students or staff/volunteers, and electronic communication should be avoided during the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., unless there is an exigent – or urgent – situation.
  • If an urgent situation occurs and employees/volunteers text one-on-one with a student, or communicate with a student during off hours, the communication should be reported to a supervisor within 24 hours.

The regulation and policy also incorporate a new state law, Senate Bill 287, which now requires volunteers with unsupervised OR regular contact with students to be fingerprinted. CCSD staff worked with other districts in Nevada to define “regular” contact as someone who volunteers at least four times a month.

I’ve heard concerns from employees and the community that this new law may deter parents and family members from volunteering in our schools because of the cost or inconvenience of fingerprinting. I share these concerns. Parent and family engagement is one of the top priorities outlined in the Pledge of Achievement and it is my sincere hope that families will continue to participate in their child’s education while understanding the need to keep all students safe. A short survey regarding these new fingerprinting requirements can be found at ccsd.net/protectourkids. We will share the input we receive with legislators during the 2019 Legislative session.

Ultimately, we all must work together to protect our kids. CCSD is developing videos so employees, volunteers, parents and students are able to better understand regulation and policy 4100 to ensure students, employees and volunteers are protected. To learn more about the new regulation and policy, visit: ccsd.net/protectourkids. I appreciate each one of you working to keep our students safe.