In support of the recommendations from the Federal Commission on School Safety’s final report, the Nevada Department of Education has awarded the Carson City School District $1.15 million in grant funding for school safety.
The funding was made possible by passage of several key bills during the 2019 legislative session, which constituted a comprehensive approach to school safety with both policy and fiscal enhancements to support a holistic approach in the creation of safe and respectful learning environments. These bills included Senate Bill 89, which was an all-inclusive omnibus bill reflecting the final recommendations of the School Safety Task Force, as well as Senate Bills 528, 551 and 555, which appropriate funding to support the comprehensive approach envisioned by the Task Force.
“We want to recognize Gov. (Steve) Sisolak and all our state representatives for the efforts and considerations they made during the last legislative session,” Carson City Superintendent Richard Stokes said. “Over the last several years, the topic of ensuring the safety of our children and students at schools have been on the minds of nearly every engaged citizen across the country. I’m encouraged at our local leaders’ attention to our most precious commodity, our children.”
In the case of Carson City School District, the funding supports a tailored approach to school safety by allowing the school district to assess and serve students. The School Safety Grant includes $600,000 for two years for two additional school resource officers and $500,000 for school safety facility improvements that were identified in a Homeland Security Assessment.
The addition of two more school resource officers and school safety facility improvements build upon much of the work already completed within our schools and are aligned with the recommendations from Homeland Security’s safety audits completed within the last year.
“We would not have been eligible to qualify for these funds if our district hadn’t already made a concerted effort in addressing safety needs within our schools,” said Ann Cyr, Carson City School District risk manager. “The safety assessment process is continuous and informs our decisions about where safety and security dollars are best spent.” Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong plans to utilize current staff to fill these new positions because they are already familiar with the laws regarding schools and students, they have extensive critical training for dealing with crisis circumstances and are already integrated in the patrol divisions operations. Plans are already in place to begin moving personnel into the new assignments.
“The selection of deputies for these positions will focus highly on their ability to develop relationships with students and families,” Furlong said. “In addition, these new hires will have the benefit of being trained by the three current SROs who are acquainted with the student population and administrators as well as the regular routines of each school.”
“The selection of deputies for these positions will focus highly on their ability to develop relationships with students, families, and School District staff and employees,” Furlong said. “In addition, all deputy sheriffs assigned to the school district are required to be certified by the National Association of School Resource Officers. Through this training, deputies are provided with the highest quality of training for school-based law enforcement officers to promote safer schools and safer children. The standards and training have been provided to the three current SROs and will be applied to all future officers working in our educational environments.”
In a recent interview with the school district’s Grants and Special Projects Department, one SRO stated that building relationships was the key to providing a safe environment at his school. Another stated that their constant presence and high profile provides a unique opportunity to positively influence students and families. One described his role as similar to the white blood cells in the body: He can protect the school by addressing problems when they first arise rather than having to wait until an emergency occurs.