Nevada schools report less fighting on campus |

Nevada schools report less fighting on campus

by Teri Vance

The Carson City School District will increase its efforts to promote safer schools with the installation of a Secret Witness program.

“We envision that it will be fully operational in two weeks,” said Mike Mitchell, operations director for the district. “We anticipate that we can receive the first phone call on February 7.”

The program was announced Tuesday, the same day a national study showed that Nevada leads the nation in improving school safety.

The state reported a slight drop in fighting among students during a five-year period.

Superintendent Jim Parry said the decrease in school violence can be attributed to substance abuse counseling, anger management courses and attention from school officials to lessen alienation among different groups.

“Nevada has a really strong accountability plan where any sort of these issues are reported to the public,” Parry said. “Also you have a great concentration of staff and parents working together to combat these things.”

The report said that from 1993 to 1997, the percentage of Nevada students engaging in physical fights on campus dropped to 15 percent from 20 percent, the only state that reported a decrease.

The Special Witness program is the latest in a series of programs to increase security within Carson City School District.

Mitchell said he hopes the Special Witness Program has proven to be effective within other organizations.

“We’re anxious to get it implemented here so we can take advantage of the same security,” Mitchell said.

Special Witness already operates a similar line for the Washoe County School District.

The program allows students and other individuals to call 202 from any Nevada Bell phone to be connected to a Secret Witness line.

Rewards are paid for information about crimes committed at school district facilities.

The study on fighting among students in school, done for The National Education Goals Panel, is called ”Promising Practices: Progress Toward the Goals 1999.”

While Nevada’s percentage of students involved in fights dropped to 15, it was still higher than several other states.

South Dakota reported 11 percent and Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia reported 13 percent.

“If you look closely at the study, we aren’t the safest state,” said Michael Fitzgerald, coordinator for the state’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools an Communities program. “But we are improving.”