Keeping trainees safe requires more than armed teachers, metal detectors

Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019|2 a.m.

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Much of the conversation about school safety has concentrated on equipping teachers, beefing up security staffing and making schools harder targets through the addition of metal detectors and similar devices.

But developing a safe environment for our kids while they’re at school goes method beyond that. It has to do with supplying them with appropriate counseling and psychological health services, helping trainees whose standard needs are not being satisfied, reducing bullying and taking other steps that will make students less likely to act out.

Luckily for Nevada, students’ emotional wellness becomes part of the conversation about school safety.

Last week, the nonprofit company Neighborhoods in Schools Nevada had a top in Las Vegas to discuss school security from a perspective of trainee requirements. Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara was among the individuals, as were state Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, and previous Nevada state education superintendent Dale Erquiaga, who now serves as national president and CEO of Communities in Schools.

The top was a welcome addition to comparable discussions that happened in recent months by a task force put together by previous Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Throughout an interview with the Sun prior to the event, Erquiaga stated that when decision-makers began going over school security in the consequences of the Parkland, Fla., shooting, they initially concentrated on how to solidify schools to prevent mass shootings. However as those conversations evolved, Erquiaga said, there was increasing recognition that the root causes of school violence needed to be checked out.

“It had to do with trainees who come to school under conditions of trauma, or who have behavioral issues that tend to intensify in some circumstances,” he said. “School safety isn’t just the mass shooting event that we think about after Parkland. There are school security issues each and every single day surrounding bullying or stress and anxiety or other student behaviors.”

That holding true, setting up more metal detectors or employing more security officers isn’t going to resolve the issue. It’s critical for school leaders and policymakers to attend to the social and economic elements behind school violence too.

Part of the solution includes supplying schools with adequate therapists and psychological health services, which is where state chosen leaders come in. Throughout the upcoming legislative session, it will be crucial for lawmakers to consist of funding for those needs as part of any action on school safety.

Another necessity is to replace Nevada’s woefully outdated school funding formula, which has actually remained in place since the late 1960s. The state needs a weighted formula that would supply a proportionally higher quantity of state financing to schools serving trainees with unique requirements– English language students and those with disabilities, for example.

Meanwhile, the state should motivate organizations like Neighborhoods in Schools to stay involved.

Neighborhoods in Schools’ objective is to supply trainees with whatever they require to remain in school and graduate, from basics like clothing and transportation to more customized items and services like alarm clocks and eyeglasses. With an estimated 8,700 CCSD students being homeless, and thousands more coming from homes having problem with hardship, the role of Communities in Schools and comparable companies is vital.

The unfortunate reality these days’s schools is that numerous students do not feel safe there– Jara said at the top that 20 percent of CCSD trainees reported in a recent survey that they were afraid.

That being the case, it’s crucial for school authorities and legislators to recognize that mass shootings aren’t the only source of those trainees’ stress and anxieties. They require aid that metal detectors, guard and armed instructors simply can’t offer.

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