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Bill Aims To Update School Safety Standards, Add School Counselors

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Sparks Middle School
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A bill aims to update school safety standards in Nevada. The ideas are based on lessons learned from the deadly Sparks Middle School shooting.

A bill brought to the Nevada Assembly last week would update school safety standards and aim to hire more school counselors in the hopes of making schools safer.  

Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson is sponsoring AB218. The bill is based on lessons learned from the Sparks Middle School shooting in 2013 that left a teacher and a student dead.

Under the plan, schools could hire school psychologists or counselors at ratio of one for every 250 students. The assemblywoman told KNPR’s State of Nevada that one of the key provisions of the bill is that individual schools would be able to decide for themselves what they need.

“Their school may not necessarily be a low-income school that needs a lot of social work support in terms of accessing community resources, but they might need more psychological support or they might need more school counselors,” Benitez-Thompson said.

The lawmaker estimates the bill would cost about $11 million a year. She is working with the Assembly budget committee to secure that funding.

“I hope we get some money appropriated. I feel like this is the session where we could make an honest commitment and fund that commitment”

The assemblywoman said school safety standards have not been updated since 2001. Currently there are only 28 social workers covering the entire Clark County School District. 

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Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-Washoe County 

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