Nevada education leaders prioritize campus safety, security after a turbulent last school year

Nevada education leaders met with FOX5 in Carson City to discuss safety on campus.
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 8:04 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - After a turbulent 2021-22 school year marked by increased campus violence, security remains a top concern for families as back-to-school season soon begins at Clark County School District.

Last spring, a 16-year-old student was charged with attempted murder and sexual assault of his teacher at Eldorado High School after police said he violently attacked and strangled her in her own classroom. The teacher survived, and the teen is being charged as an adult.

On Thursday, board members will be asked to authorize a $26 million purchase on Thursday for security upgrades on Eldorado High School’s campus alone. FOX5 has requested an itemized receipt of this purchase. An agenda item to authorize the use of funds for making improvements to Clark High School will also be presented to trustees, though Clark’s is listed at a fraction of Eldorado’s price tag.

Meanwhile, one trustee said families with students enrolled in other schools are frequently expressing concerns to her over security on their campuses.

“Everybody is really spooked about sending their kids to school and committing to another year,” said Danielle Ford, trustee for District F, CCSD Board of Trustees.

In the wake of local and national security breaches, like the school shooting in Uvalde, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert told FOX5 that they too are focused on improving safety on campuses. She added that they have devoted resources toward security, “to make sure that the hardening of the buildings are in place,” said Ebert.

CCSD announced in the spring that they would implement new security measures, including upgrading security cameras and school infrastructure such as a single points of campus entry. These tasks have already been completed at Eldorado, but the extent of the efforts on other campuses remains undisclosed by the district.

Meanwhile, Ebert said she has been pushing for better partnerships with law enforcement agencies.

“Practicing in case of an emergency with local law enforcement,” said Ebert. “We just held a large gathering a few weeks ago in regards to bringing in our law enforcement, not only locally, but statewide, making sure that the plans that we have in place are what we would all expect, that they’re reviewed.”

Christy McGill, Director of the Office of Safe and Respectful Learning with the Nevada Department of Education, told FOX5 that she has been urging districts to continue their focus on meeting the mental health needs of students.

“[CCSD] partnered with health agencies too, like Hazel Health, to really make sure again that we are tackling this in an ecosytem approach,” said McGill. “So yes, law enforcement has a role, but so does behavioral health. Behavioral health allows us to intervene early, and that’s what we really need. We need early intervention, so that we can get to students and support them before some of these tragedies happen.”

More details on the $26 million security upgrade proposal at Eldorado can be found here.