Let’s make schools safer places

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Illustration by Faith Evans

The responsibility of every school district is to ensure a safe environment for students, staff, and visitors. Addressing school safety doesn’t mean simply responding to the latest horrific shooting. The district has to keep school safety in perspective and understand where the threats are coming from today. Granted, the potential for danger from outside sources is always a possibility, but what is often not considered is the potential danger from those who are supposed to be on campus is a reality as well.

Clark County is the fifth largest school district in the country and the largest in Nevada. Three fourths of the Nevada population attends school in Clark County, and yet there are still flaws to the safety environment. The mission of the Clark County School District Board is to ensure “all students progress in school and graduate prepared to succeed and contribute in a global diverse society.” Nowhere does it mention anything about a student’s safety. The goal is to simply create an educational environment so students can progress in life.

A few hall monitors and school police are not going to cut the safety requirements. Teachers can help out with things going on in classrooms, but teachers don’t expect to have a student that would harm others.

Then there are the students, who aren’t really ones to “tattle” on each other. The number of teachers to students ratio shows teachers to be greatly outnumbered. Students are the eyes and ears of a school. If anyone knows anything, it is most likely going to be them. The best solution: create an anonymous online website for students to report what they see and hear, from a rude comment, to selling or taking drugs, to a weapon in a student’s backpack. When incidents are reported, the dean can make every effort to deal with the situation immediately.

Given the pervasiveness of a wide range of low-cost, low-impact technologies today, some

school cameras are not where they should be. The absence of cameras in student parking lots can lead to some issues, including tire slashing and window bashing. Without cameras in proper places, the district could be looking at serious liability problems if not taken into concern.

Weapons play a huge role in today’s society, especially with the new controversial gun laws coming into place. State law states “upon completion of specified requirements, a law-abiding person shall be granted a permit to carry concealed firearms” (https://www.nraila.org/). Recent shootings prove these laws contradict themselves. A solution won’t come easily and there will be fights for both sides of the gun laws. It is a very simple and easy task for a student to bring a concealed weapon to school, whether it be a firearm or a dull pocketknife, without anyone knowing.

Luckily, there are many ways to fix these problems; however, nothing can be 100% safe. Input from teachers, students, and parents should be a priority to the success of a safe environment, and increasing technology like the quality cameras and alarm systems can and will help make a more secure environment. A safe learning campus will ensure students’ ability to concentrate on important things rather than worrying about someone walking in and putting them at risk. Simply identifying who will be responsible for what and letting people know what role they play is a great way to start. Assigning roles to various staff gets them involved and empowers them to take part in school safety.

Together, schools across the nation can become safer. All it takes is a few baby steps in the right direction to create a safe learning environment. Keeping all safety precautions in mind can and will improve the safety of students, staff, and visitors.