‘Stop school violence’: CCSD teachers protest Wednesday to make rally cries heard
Update (4/13/22): Clark County School District teachers took to the streets to make their concerns heard on the issue of rising violence at valley schools. More than 100 staff members protested Wednesday morning and demanded the district do more to stop violence on campus.
The group rallied outside the district’s headquarters, the same location where just Tuesday, district leaders addressed recent violence.
“We are in this situation now where somebody is going to die,” said Alexis Salt, a CCSD K-12 teacher at the protest.
Started by a Facebook invitation spearheaded by NEA of Southern Nevada President Vicki Kreidel, the group of protesters gathered at 8:30 a.m. on the sidewalk in front of the district’s main headquarters.
It came after months of burgeoning campus violence and the recent brutal attack of a high school teacher. Concerns for safety among teachers are currently at an all-time high.
“When our teachers are not feeling safe, students are not feeling safe as well,” said Kamilah Bywaters, protestor and President of the Las Vegas Alliance of Black School Educators.
It is an uncommon sight to see district teachers gather for a protest, but many said they urgently need more protections from their employer.
“The time for discussion has passed. Now is the time for us to hold CCSD accountable,” said Kreidel.
Another solution teachers are calling for? More adults on campuses. A high school teacher at Wednesday morning’s protest said amid the severe staff shortages, there is seemingly less oversight on student behavior.
“The kids see that there’s no adults,” said Ryan Fromoltz, CCSD high school teacher. “They see that there’s no hall monitors, you’ve got long-term subs in classrooms, you have people that can’t manage kids because we’re so short.”
FOX5 has reported, teachers also report there being a critical shortage of campus security monitors, whose job is to ensure campus safety and good student behavior.
Protest attendee Steve Craig said he serves as a campus monitor and sees the shortage first-hand.
“The campus monitor has been devalued within the school district, to the point where they can’t fill those positions,” said Craig. “They’re currently starting off at $14 an hour. It’s only a nine-month job.”
So why are we seeing more violence, specifically? Educators at the rally said it is a reflection of the mental health of students, post-pandemic. One staff member said students “are hurting.”
Another said even kindergarteners are hitting their teachers.
“I’ve had to restrain a kindergartener,” said Dolly Rowan, a behavioral specialist at an elementary school.
That’s why protesters say they are calling for more mental health professionals for students as well.
“A lot of schools don’t have social workers. That’s a bigger issue as well; our counselors deal mostly with registration and classes. Our counselors don’t have time to deal with the major issues kids face,” said Fromoltz.
Salt said she felt district leaders recent attempts at fixing the problem are inadequate.
“The district is doing what it does. It’s trying to tell us not to worry, to back off. And we are not! We are not doing that,” said Salt.
CCSD Communications declined to comment in response to the protest or the teachers’ claims.
Superintendent Jesus Jara said Tuesday that stopping the burgeoning violence is his top priority.
“The cameras, they’re outdated, and we’re going to find the resources within the Clark County school district to protect our employees,” Jara said.
CCEA President Marie Neisess made a similar call for mental health support in schools.
“The state needs to fund all schools with the resources to improve our mental health programs for our staff and students,” said Neisess.
Jara announced some changes Tuesday that he said will be implemented immediately when students return from spring break.
Besides upgrading campus security cameras, he said they will provide teachers with wearable panic buttons on lanyards and also partner with local agencies to increase police presence around schools.
Original Story: LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -- Police said an Eldorado High School teacher was brutally and violently attacked by a student Thursday. The teacher is said to now be in stable condition, but sadness and outrage is growing stronger within the Clark County School District community.
Several CCSD teachers are now getting ready to protest outside of the district’s Administrative Center during spring break.
“We want some immediate actions taken,” said Vicki Kreidel, CCSD teacher and president of teachers union NEA of Southern Nevada.
In recent days, teachers across Clark County have been coming together on social media to share their devastation for their colleague who police said was attacked in her own classroom.
“Our fear has been, all along, someone is going to be killed. Like these are people’s lives we’re talking about,” said Kreidel.
District leaders also reacted to the news Friday; District G Trustee Linda Cavazos Tweeted, “The trustees cannot comment on any details of an ongoing investigation. We just can’t. But I can say that tears streamed down my face as I sat in the Reno airport waiting for a delayed flight. My heart is with her. A life will never be the same.”
District B Trustee Katie Williams also tweeted on Friday, writing, “Cameras in classrooms!”
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara issued a letter to staff Friday, saying in part, “I am devastated,” and, “Violence will not be tolerated at Clark County Schools.”
Just two weeks ago, Jara announced a few new approaches to curb the worsening school violence.
Among them: sending students recommended for expulsion to CCSD’s online schools, ,onsolidating campus entry points to one entrance and getting school staff to reach out to families more.
“Find ways to re-engage them involving their parents,” said Jara.
He added, “I used to say to my teachers, I say, ‘You know, if you’re seeing things where the students are acting a little bit different, just make a phone call home.’ It doesn’t always have to be negative.”
But many educators, like Kreidel, are saying they need more from district leaders.
“It’s not enough,” said Kreidel. “We don’t feel heard by the district... From what I’m hearing there are teachers that are literally ready to walk off and quit their job right now because of this incident.”
As of this article’s publishing date, more than 300 people reported that they are either planning to attend, or are interested attending, a peaceful protest Wednesday morning at 8:30 outside of the CCSD administrative center on Sahara. Kreidel created via Facebook invitation for the grassroots gathering.
She is inviting the public to join in on their rally cries to stop school violence.
“It doesn’t matter what union you’re in, it doesn’t matter if you’re a parent or a staff member -- it doesn’t matter if you’re just a concerned community member,” said Kreidel.
CCSDPD’s Chief Henry Blackeye announced late last month that he expects campus violence to get worse by the end of the school year. With that in mind, Kreidel said many CCSD teachers feel there are some things that can-- and should-- be done immediately.
“Make sure all the security cameras in every school are turned on and in operation,” said Kreidel. “I’ve heard ideas for things like panic buttons in the classroom.”
She added, “We need to make sure that there is someone staffing [teachers’ intercoms]... so that they can get the help that they need.”
These are just some of the possible solutions that’ll be advocated for at Wednesday’s protest.
Kreidel said she and other teachers were already planning on protesting before the incident at Eldorado due to rising violence, but said this attack on Thursday brought new urgency to making it happen.
FOX5 will continue tracking this developing story in our School Watch coverage.
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