Perhaps Carson City lawmakers would feel more urgency to address school safety if their workplace were as dangerous as some local campuses.
Recently, Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara and other district leaders held a news conference on school safety. That’s a timely topic. A stray bullet recently hit a campus security monitor outside Von Tobel Middle School. In late April, two students were arrested for bringing guns to high school. An autistic Jewish student at Clark High School allegedly had a swastika scratched into his back earlier this semester. A social media threat at a middle school in Henderson led to an increased police presence in April.
Those are just a sampling of the incidents that make the news. Just as concerning are the fight videos that fly around social media. As the Review-Journal’s Julie Wootton-Greener revealed last month, there are dozens of social media accounts sharing videos of student brawls and bullying. Some schools had multiple active accounts.
This type of atmosphere can be destabilizing to even the best students. Videos have also shown violence in classrooms, common areas and even bathrooms. It’s hard to concentrate on your geometry class if you’re worried about the best angles to minimize your chance of being sucker-punched.
Some students decide attending school isn’t worth the risk and don’t show up. Last semester, more than one-third of Clark County students were chronically absent. That means they missed school 10 percent or more of the time.
What a contrast with the hallowed halls of Carson City. Armed police protect politicians. The public and media aren’t usually allowed on the Senate and Assembly floors. Lobbyists wander the building worried about meetings, not melees.
Yet legislative Democrats apparently feel no urgency to address school violence.
In 2019, the Legislature significantly restricted the ability of schools to expel students for misbehavior. Clark County had already been on a similar path. Violence exploded as students soon realized teachers and principals were virtually powerless to discipline the disrupters.
In response, Gov. Joe Lombardo has proposed Assembly Bill 330, which would give schools more power to hold accountable those who misbehave. Democrat Assemblywoman Angie Taylor is the lead sponsor on Assembly Bill 285, which would also help, although an amendment weakened her bill.
Both bills have passed the Assembly, but have stalled in the Senate. Rumblings suggest Senate Democrats only plan to pass Ms. Taylor’s bill. Unacceptable. Creating a school environment conducive to learning should be of the utmost importance to lawmakers and school officials. The Senate must pass both bills.