Gov. Lombardo makes case for school discipline bill at Valley High School
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A day after making his case for the Safer and Supportive Schools Act to the Nevada State Assembly, Governor Joe Lombardo took his pitch on the road to Valley High School in Las Vegas Friday afternoon.
“We don’t need any more victims of school violence,” Lombardo said during his address in a classroom at Valley High School. “What we need is serious reform and legislative action.”
The Governor says the issue of violence in schools is wide-reaching, pointing out that 90% of schools in the Clark County School District have reported a violent incident on campus in the last year.
“We know that tens of thousands of families and teachers have been affected,” he said. “Even right here at Valley High School, we know that students and teachers have been impacted by school violence.”
Lombardo’s bill, also known as AB330, would make it easier for schools to suspend or expel disruptive students, who the governor says make it harder for kids who actually want to learn.
Yassin Amassnaou, a senior at Valley High School who talked with FOX5 after the governor’s address, agrees with that point and says there’s not much that teachers can do at present to stop bad behavior.
“Even being warned by the teacher doesn’t make them stop disrupting the classroom,” Amassnaou said of disruptive students in his classroom. “Over time, students just get used to it or just plug in their headphones. That’s what I do, just listen to music while doing our assignments.”
To work around this, Amassnaou has to make extra efforts just to make sure he’s learning what he should.
“I always try to stay after class and talk to the teacher if there’s something I didn’t hear,” he explained, “Because they’re so busy dealing with something that of course they shouldn’t have to deal with.”
This bill, along with similar ones that have been introduced recently in the Nevada Assembly, has been criticized for not addressing the needs of those disruptive students, who some say may get lost in the shuffle after being removed from their schools.
Governor Lombardo partially addressed that concern.
“To ensure this legislation is executed properly, suspensions and expulsion will be monitored and teachers who are excessively removing students from the classroom will be identified,” he said.
When asked after his address what specifically will happen to students who get expelled, Lombardo said that’s still being worked out.
A member of the Dads in Schools organization who attended the address also wants to do right by those kids, but says it can’t be at the expense of other issues.
Lindsey Eric Culverson, Volunteer Coordinator, Dads in Schools
“As much as we want to protect those kids, and we certainly do, we want to protect a larger environment,” said Lindsey Eric Culberson, Volunteer Coordinator for Dads in Schools. “Because when you have repeated violence in school, everybody suffers. Teachers, staff, other kids. It reduces the amount of learning.”
Governor Lombardo also pointed toward another facet of the bill that he believes addresses concerns about what happens to those problem students.
“The Safer and Supportive Schools act also increases accountability by allowing intervention by the state superintendent when necessary,” he explained. “Every child should be given the opportunity to stay in school and the measures in this bill will help do just that.”
Lombardo says the bill has the support of all 17 superintendents in Nevada, including CCSD superintendent Jesus Jara, who was in attendance at Friday’s address.
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