LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Dozens of educators, school counselors and state government representatives from across the United States have gathered in Las Vegas for a school safety conference.
The National School Response Conference is a two-day event that kicked off Tuesday at the Flamingo Hotel.
One of those present was Robert Schmidt, head of security at the Mater Academy of Nevada, a public charter school in the East Valley.
Schmidt told 8 News Now the focus is on providing a safe learning environment, and that starts at home.
“We pride ourselves on staying at the pinnacle of safety, especially at Mater Academies. We take this very, very seriously,” he said. “With the way buildings are built, with the way we have fencing.”
With 28 years of experience with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Schmidt is based at Mater Academy High School, located near Pecos Road and Bonanza Road.
Schmidt added that students’ mental health is a priority at the school.
“We try to do our best to keep home life in order, because if family life affects school life,” Schmidt said.
Gary L. Sigrist, Jr. co-hosted the National School Response Conference.
Sigrist has worked in both law enforcement and a school in Ohio and says children are now often inclined to resort to extreme violence to vent their anger.
“What we have today is a lot of people, children and adults, who are very fragile, and they always blame someone for something bad that happened to them,” Sigrist said.
Sigrist, who was also a speaker at the conference, said a student is less likely to attack a teacher when there is a personal connection, which organizers are promoting as a tool to reduce violence.
Also in attendance were Nevada officials from the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
“Emergency Management is effectively required by law to accept and review all school emergency plans, so being here to get this information and resources helps support that mission.” – Megan Hall, Nevada Division of Emergency Planning Superintendent . and Homeland Security said.
The conference will also discuss the issue of arming school personnel with concealed weapons and threat assessment.