In wake of Uvalde massacre, CCSD campus security comes under scrutiny

Following the Uvalde elementary school mass shooting, FOX5 asked CCSD about their proposed security plans.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 11:29 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - On school campuses across the nation, severe acts of violence have been on the rise, including in Clark County. In the wake of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, concerns amongst local families are rising, despite it being the last day of school.

“I just can’t imagine... when I think about my grandchildren in an elementary school, it just terrifies me to think, would I be standing there at that campus, praying that it wasn’t my babies?” said Marie Neisess, president of teachers union Clark County Education Association.

So what’s being done to address campus security in Nevada? Let’s look at the timeline.

FOX5 first brought you the news about rising campus violence in Clark County from the District Attorney’s office back in February. Director of the Juvenile Division, Brigid Duffy, first shared with us what she was seeing.

“You can see that anger like that lack of empathy everything just coming out,” Duffy said.

Since then, vicious attacks, like the ones on a teacher at Eldorado High School, like the one on a secretary at Legacy High School and the one on a student at Las Vegas High School demanded the attention of local education leaders.

“We are going to do what we need to do to protect our staff, to protect our kids from these violent acts that are coming onto our campuses,” Superintendent Jesus Jara said.

Jara announced over spring break, in April, that his team planned to bring these enhanced security measures to schools:

  1. Wearable panic buttons for teachers
  2. Additional police presence in schools
  3. Single points of entry on campuses
  4. Upgraded security cameras

Are they being implemented?

We asked Clark County School District, and their Communications Office said it will take time to implement these changes, and added that they cannot disclose certain details for fear that people will try and circumvent them.

Separately, our call to the CCSD Police Department’s Public Information Officer Lt. Bryan Zink went unanswered Wednesday.

FOX5 has also been checking in with school staff.

An Eldorado teacher told us in April that she saw a new panic device and more police. However, at Legacy High School, for example, a teacher told us Sunday that there were still more than 20 campus entry points -- none of which had been secured, to his knowledge.

So when can CCSD families expect these commitments to be honored at all schools? It’s a question we will continue to work to answer.

Meantime, Neisess said that she has doubts about the practicality of one promised security enhancement, in particular.

“One single point entry... the problem is now everyone is in line, and you’re talking about, our campuses our overcrowded. So if someone wanted to do harm, okay you have 1,500 - 2,000 kids standing in line,” Neisess said.

She said fully securing all of our schools requires more funding from Nevada state legislators for education.

“We’re in talk with leadership,” said Neisess. “We’re in talk with legislators.”

More resources for education from the state is something kindergarten teacher Kristan Nigro wants to see as well.

“We really need to have a heavy look into our mental health and what’s available to these kids,” Nigro said, who works at Schorr Elementary in Henderson. “I mean, just looking into the district itself, the caseloads of the school psychs, the counselors, the whole nine yards -- it’s just unbelievable. And I think we really need to stop, pause, think about what does that mean for us? How do we fix these problems? That starts in Carson City.”

Neisess said Wednesday that she is hoping grieving Nevada families will turn their sadness into action by contacting their local legislators and making their demands known for safer schools. She said what happened in Uvalde should never happen in any school.

CCSD shared a statement with FOX5 after the Texas massacre, reading in part, “CCSD continues to review, assess and address the security of our schools.”

They continued, “CCSD police officers and local law enforcement partners continue to provide a high level of service to our schools as they do every day.”

FOX5 will continue holding decisionmakers accountable for ensuring safe campuses.

Nevada Department of Education leaders said they would do an interview with us about it in coming days.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX5 for more updates.