Pat, Personally

Monday, April 2, 2018

School safety

It has been two weeks since many high school students around the nation and here in Clark County conducted walkouts to express their concern over safety in our schools.

To our students, parents, staff and community, I want you to know that the Board of School Trustees and I care deeply about the safety of our children.

To address this important topic of discussion, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion along with representatives from law enforcement, district staff as well as a legislator and one of our high school principals.

The two main themes that were brought up by all the participants were that resources are available and communication is the key.

Here in the Clark County School District (CCSD), we want to continue to spread the word to let students to know that there is always an adult on campus that they can talk to, whether it is an administrator, counselor, social worker or school psychologist. We want students to know these people are available to provide assistance and are also a resource if they need to report something.

I want our school communities to know that we appreciate that you act as our eyes and ears in our schools and throughout our community. That is where the importance of communications becomes a factor as safety is a team effort, and parents and students are often our best source for reporting suspicious instances or inappropriate behavior.

While the topic of school safety is at the forefront of our minds, we are not alone in working to address this topic. As State Senator Joyce Woodhouse indicated during the discussion, school safety is definitely on the minds of our representatives in the Nevada Legislature.

Woodhouse pointed out that during the last legislative session, additional funds were allocated to hire more social workers to serve as valuable resources in our schools. She also indicated that we can expect additional efforts during the next legislative session on how to make schools safer and how to get additional resources into our schools, whether they are additional psychologists, social workers, law enforcement officers, teachers or a combination of those. Also, Gov. Sandoval has indicated that he wants this topic to be a priority with a two-pronged approach that includes physical ways to make schools safer and through additional resources as I already mentioned.

Another vital component of school safety comes from the law enforcement agencies in Clark County. CCSD has its own police department of fully certified law enforcement officers. And while we have officers assigned to schools and other officers who are constantly on patrol around our schools, our officers also work with the other law enforcement agencies throughout the county to provide coverage and response support for our schools, students and staff.

As Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman pointed out during the discussion, our law enforcement officials frequently conduct inter-agency training, so when there is a response to an incident, it is a coordinated effort among multiple agencies that have trained together and this provides for a better communication process.

The topic of school safety will be ongoing. To learn more about school safety, please take some time from your busy schedule to watch the special edition of Inside Education that originally aired on Vegas PBS on March 22. The program can be found by clicking on the Inside Education link.