Nevada Puts Millions Toward Increasing School Safety
In a recent legislative session, Nevada lawmakers set aside close to $76 million to improve school safety through counseling support and physical infrastructure.
- By Amanda Smiley
- August 22, 2019
While reactive measures are understandable and expected in the era of school shootings, the state of Nevada is pouring funds into more preventive measures to combat school violence. State lawmakers recently set aside millions of taxpayer dollars and federal grant dollars to improve school safety.
The state allocated $75 million in taxpayer dollars and another $1 million from federal grants for the project, said Christy McGill, the director of the Nevada Department of Education Division of Safe and Respectful Learning. The grant money came from a Congress-established grant after the deadly Parkland high school shooting in South Florida in February 2018. In the case of Parkland, many knew the shooter had been having difficulties in school and with mental health.
“Many people knew that this young person was struggling,” McGill told KSNV News 3 in Las Vegas. “So, we're hoping with this multi-pronged approach, and by strengthening behavioral health in our schools, we can actually intervene earlier and de-escalate some of these kids.”
What areas of the school will the millions of dollars actually address? Hiring more mental health professionals for schools is a huge emphasis, especially given the mounting research that suggest students need better access to counseling and more emotional support. More police officers will also be hired, not to discipline kids necessarily, but to protect the students’ security, McGill said. The funds will also make possible more on-campus cameras.
McGill is hopeful these efforts will begin to improve school safety, and she notes that the effort has been welcomed as a bipartisan, community push.
“I really feel like this multi-prong approach, taking the best of what the Republicans offered and the best of what the Democrats offered, [is] coming together with a holistic safety approach. That includes the hardening, the prevention, the looking at the behavioral, mental [and] how we prevent school violence,” McGill said.
Amanda Smiley is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.