LAS VEGAS (FOX5) - School safety topped the agenda in Carson City Monday night. The Senate Education Committee discussed SB-89, which addresses issues including the need for more secure campuses and more behavioral help for Nevada students.
Some parents and teachers said they worry this bill isn’t doing enough. SB-89 is based on recommendations made by the state school safety task force, late last year. It’s not the ideas that concern parents and teachers. It’s how those ideas will be funded and put into place.
Lower class sizes, more school counselors and fine-tuned crisis plans: those are just some of the recommendations part of a lengthy bill, meant to address school safety.
“You have chaos,” Centennial High School social studies teacher James Frazee said. Frazee is also on the executive board of CCEA. “You have teachers leaving, you have students leaving. And now you have students afraid to come to school because the violence is escalating.”
The bill highlights a need for more mental health resources in the classroom. CCSD counselor Kassie Griffith said she felt that strain firsthand.
“I’ve worked at a school with 1,000 kids by myself,” she said.
That’s four times the national recommendation.
“Talk is great but the action is going to be what helps our kids the most,” Griffith said.
Parents and teachers were on board with the ideas in SB-89. But they said they worry it’s just words.
“The reality is our kids need those resources now,” parent Rebecca Garcia said. “We need more counselors now, we need more psychologists now.”
Garcia is the president-elect of the Nevada PTA.
In his first state of the state, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) pledged a portion of a 10 percent marijuana tax to school safety.
“But the question is, 'Is it going to be enough?’” Garcia said. “The challenge is making sure there is funding that comes along with these recommendations so that we can actually increase the number of support personnel for our kids.”
Parents like Garcia said they wonder how that promise will fit with this bill.
“Things look great on paper,” Frazee said. “Sometimes politicians can sit around and write up some really great legislation that makes everyone feel good in the room. But when it comes to the people who have to enact that legislation without the resources to do so, it just adds to the problem. It just adds to the frustration.”
While these are good ideas on paper, parents and teachers said they’ve heard it all before. They wonder how much longer it will take to see change in the classrooms.
“Whether it’s school funding or school safety, we seem to spend a lot of time studying these issues, which is important to have knowledge and information, but our kids grow up really fast,” Garcia said.
“I’m 57. I’d like to teach until I’m 70,” Frazee said. “And I shouldn’t have to walk the halls of a high school at 68 and be worried for my safety. And that’s just the route we’re going.”
Also on the agenda on Monday, another bill that would wipe school floor plans from public record. Many CCSD schools were built at the same time, so they have the same layout. Parents said they agree this is a good idea as another layer of privacy and protection.