“We’re sitting on a time bomb”: Teacher’s union director calls for action after Las Vegas school shooting

Published: May. 9, 2023 at 8:24 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - In the aftermath of Monday’s shooting of a campus security monitor at Von Tobel Middle School, the Clark County Education Association is calling for action.

“We need much more proactive and stronger safety measures,” CCEA Executive Director John Vellardita said Monday.

Vellardita says the action taken so far to prevent violence on campus has been inadequate, and made a case for more to be done.

“Zero tolerance for violent or disruptive behavior,” Vellardita argued.

A couple of bills in the state legislature would address what teachers have called an urgent need to remove restrictions surrounding the suspension or expulsion of violent and disruptive students.

Vellardita says the threat of violence at school has escalated over the years to the point that the teachers he represents often don’t feel safe when they go to work.

“I think we’re sitting on a time bomb,” he said. “I hate to say it, but we start every day wondering whether we’re going to hear about a tragedy on the same scale that we’ve seen happen nationally.”

CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara released a statement after Monday’s shooting, asking what our cities and Clark County are doing to stop these situations from happening and calling on the community to be accountable for child safety.

Vellardita wants the superintendent to take responsibility.

“This is another example of Superintendent Jara deflecting criticism on the school district and measures that they could be doing,” he said.

Vellardita points to additional on-campus monitors and reinforcements for CCSD Police as incremental solutions.

“Anything should be on the table at this point to make sure that when kids go into a classroom, it’s going to be safe and they’re going to learn and they don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re going home that day,” he said.

This school year has seen a few security measures take effect on CCSD campuses. Employees now have panic buttons to use in emergency situations. Also, officials promised to enforce a single point of entry into schools, upgrade the resolution of security cameras, and put two CCSD police officers at every high school and one at every middle school. It’s unclear how many of these safeguards were in place at Von Tobel Middle School.

To this point in the school year, CCSD has confiscated 29 handguns from students.