Safety issues debated at school board meeting

School officials are counting on increased technology and help from the sheriff's department to fill a vacant safety officer position at Carson High School.

But one parent says it's not enough.

"On Jan. 14, my daughter was assaulted and battered," said Kathy Simon-Block, the mother of a 15-year-old sophomore. "There was not one adult present. Hundreds of students saw the fight; no one stepped in. Cameras might be good hindsight, but they're not a deterrent."

Simon-Block, a nurse at the school, told school board members during Tuesday's meeting that she wants to prevent similar problems.

"I don't want any parent to go through what I had to go through," she said. "It's a civil right to be able to drop our kids off at school and know we'll be able to pick them up at the end of the day."

Since 1991, the Carson City School District has employed three safety officers. When one of them transferred to a different department, and his position was not filled.

"We think the work and the work schedule can be adjusted so we can provide a high level of service," said Superintendent Mary Pierczynski. "We certainly have better coverage than we're seeing in neighboring districts."

The third safety officer was added in 1991. Since then, a fourth dean has been hired, a $150,000 surveillance system was installed, and a sheriff's deputy was stationed at the high school.

In comparison, Reno's Reed High School, which has 2,200 students -- about 400 less than Carson High School -- has one vice principal in charge of discipline, one school district police officer and one campus officer.

Pierczynski said the decision to not fill the vacant safety officer position is not final.

"If we feel it's not working, we'll go back and revisit this," she said.

Principal Glen Adair said 27 incidents were reported to the Carson City Sheriff's Department by the high school. The incidents ranged from fights to trespassing.

He said he is proud of the school's safety record, but will never be able to prevent all altercations.

"We're dealing with human nature here and with people, who, for whatever reason, don't get along and decide to fight it out," he said. "It happens in society. It happens in schools. It happens in families.

"Are we any less safe than we were before? No."


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