Juvenile violence commission directs districts to plan
The Commission on School Safety and Juvenile Violence voted Wednesday to require development of a plan that stretches all the way from state and federal agencies to individual schools.
The commission was created by the Legislature in the wake of the violence in Littleton, Colo., and headed by Sen. Valerie Wiener, D-Las Vegas. It was charged with developing and adopting a statewide plan of emergency response to incidents of school violence.
The proposal approved Wednesday, just ahead of this month’s deadline, calls on the 2001 Legislature to put the burden for that task on the more than 500 individual schools throughout the state, the 17 county school districts and the State Board of Education.
It would be the state board’s responsibility to make sure the Division of Emergency Management, Department of Motor Vehicles and other state agencies at the local and state levels are ready in case there is violence in Nevada schools.
Schools Superintendent Mary Peterson has said in the past school officials at every level were already working on those kinds of preparations in cooperation with local officials.
And Jim Walker of the Division of Emergency Management told the committee it’s not the state’s job to make the first response in that kind of incident.
“It’s a tough assignment because we’re looking to make a state plan for an emergency incident that happens at a school,” he said. “It’s very difficult to institute a state plan for response to an incident where the primary response occurs at a local level.”
He said, however, his division is prepared to help local officials with an incident, organizing and coordinating support, manpower and expertise where needed. But he said local school officials working with local law enforcement must do the primary planning.