Carson City officials continue discussions on school safety

Carson High Principal Bob Chambers, left, district risk manager Ann Cyr, Sheriff Ken Furlong and Superintendent Andrew Feuling discuss school safety at the Carson City School Board meeting March 14.

Carson High Principal Bob Chambers, left, district risk manager Ann Cyr, Sheriff Ken Furlong and Superintendent Andrew Feuling discuss school safety at the Carson City School Board meeting March 14.
Photo by Jessica Garcia.

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Carson City School District officials are exploring how to improve school safety.

Carson High School Principal Bob Chambers, district risk manager Ann Cyr and Sheriff Ken Furlong joined Superintendent Andrew Feuling for a discussion with the Carson City School Board on March 14 to highlight assessments and needs to keep schools safe at all levels. Strategies included district surveillance, technological enhancements, dogs or the placement of school resource officers on campus to build trust with students.

Furlong talked about his department’s recent outreach efforts to families on gang activities, including making home visits, to keep youth safe and help them to make responsible lifestyle choices. In a followup with the Appeal, Furlong cited the Jan. 24 Carmine Street shooting in which one juvenile was hospitalized and CCSO detectives partnered with the Special Enforcement Team Gang Unit, school resource officers and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office to identify and arrest multiple suspects.

“That is an evolving incident that appeared more directly related at drug involvement than gang involvement but it is still open and we are still collecting information,” Furlong said. “We had a separate incident about a month before, and we had information that gang-type tagging was occurring around Carson City at an increased rate than what we had seen in the last several years. It caused alarm here, and our crews are working heavily on removing it but we continue to see it increasing.”

Furlong said during the officers’ family visits about gang activities, many are “set back on their heels,” about local gang activities in general.

“These briefs were directed to the family, not to the child themselves,” he said. “They were very spot specific.”

With Furlong’s help in 2015-16, the district received a grant to establish three school resource officers; two more were brought in during 2017. Grants for the SRO program now are gone, Feuling said, and the district shares the costs for these officers, who work Monday through Friday to monitor campus safety.

Furlong said he also was proud that district youth continue to engage with CCSO’s school resource officers, which has been a “tremendous focus” in the past few years since COVID-19, adding SROs are to “mentor and educate not only our children in the school environment but staff members as well.”

District work is focused on completing safety assessments for schools.

Feuling said in 2010, CCSD was considering using approximately $8 million for a performing arts center that became designated for security projects after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.

Carson City’s school board decided to use its funds to install single-point entries in all schools.

“This puts us ahead of our game,” Feuling said.

District officials recently completed its annual Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) assessment through a coalition made up of school safety and security advocates to examine the usefulness of lockdown drills, classroom safety measures and screening technology.

Cyr said CCSD considers physical security as only “one component to its overall approach to safety.” There are other aspects or phases to consider, including prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery, she said.

Cyr said CCSD has 276 cameras attached to a network, with eight to be added during spring break, and 360 cameras will be added in all elementary schools; 160 now installed will need to be replaced.

Cyr said this has been budgeted in the district’s facilities master plan.

The discussion turned to grants and how the district can use funding creatively and effectively, but Chambers said in terms of community support and meeting needs, Carson City and its partners in law enforcement and social services long have proven they are willing to respond during Carson High’s moments of greatest need.

“What we’re experiencing in Carson High School is a community problem, and I think that that’s what we’re scratching our heads with right now because this is something outside of our school coming into our school, and the knee-jerk reaction is to look at the school and say, ‘How are you going to fix the community problem?’” Chambers said. “And I think we all know the answer is Carson High School can’t fix a community problem.”


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