LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Many parents expressed their outrage at a town hall in early June after the school district announced it would cut 170 dean positions.
"If you're telling us at Arbor View, when our children were threatened to be shot to death, that we now are going to lose the person you told us we were going to have, how are our children gonna be safe?" one parent asked at the school board meeting.
“I don’t have the money to send her to a private school. I don’t have the money to shield her. The only thing that’s stopping... you know is the deans. And you’re going to take that away. How dare you!” another yelled.
One of the dean’s biggest roles is overseeing safety on campus and disciplining students.
At the Campus Safety Conference on Tuesday, leaders discussed how other school districts manage school safety.
“Number one would be SROs, number two would be a counselor, then number three would probably be a dean,” Molly Hudgens listed who she believes are vital to school safety.
Hudgens is a counselor in the Cheatham County School District in Tennessee. She is also the keynote speaker at the conference.
“I had a student with a handgun and a plan to harm people come to me in the morning first thing,” she recalled. “And he came because he said you're the only person who could talk me out of this. And had I been dealing with a discipline issue or teaching a class or doing some type of administrative duty, I would not have been available to him.”
Both Hudgens and Guy Grace were speakers at the campus security conference. Both said their schools don’t have deans.
“We’ve been working away from the dean structure and more toward the assistant principal structure and then applying that to safety and security, due to budget cuts,” Grace said.
Grace is the head of security for public schools in Littleton, Colorado.
“It would be a wise decision to apply more into mental health than an administrative position,” he said.
That’s part of CCSD superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara’s plan which calls for two police officers at each high school, four more K9 officers, an expansion of CCSD’s newly implemented random search policy and more behavior interventionists on campus.
“Looks good on paper, in theory,” James Cameron said. “It’s all going to come down to how well they execute it.”
Cameron has children in CCSD. He also trains teachers about campus safety so he still has a lot of questions about Jara’s plan.
“I'm not confident that there's no focus on teacher education,” he said. “With the absence of a dean, now you've got two officers that are there. Could it be an equal trade off? It could be. What’s their qualification? What does that mean?”
Others at the nationwide conference said CCSD is on the right track.
“It seems like your superintendent is looking at balance - balance in safety, security and mental health,” Grace said.
FOX5 reached out to CCSD on Tuesday. A spokesperson said cutting dean positions will allow principals to take a new look at how they handle discipline on campus.
CCSD is expected to announce a more in-depth safety plan soon.