Campus Safety Conference Creates School Safety Buzz in Vegas

Last week’s Campus Safety Conference West provided valuable information to school officials and residents who are debating how to best spend money budgeted for school safety.

Campus Safety Conference Creates School Safety Buzz in Vegas

Two local news stations covered Campus Safety Conference West, interviewing several of our expert speakers. Pictured left to right: Susan Payne, Founder, Safe2Tell; Guy Grace, Director of Security and Emergency Planning, Littleton Public Schools; Carly Posey, Mission Director, I Love U Guys Foundation; Tammy Malich, Assistant Superintendent, Clark County School District; Dr. Katie Dockweiler, Director of Government and Professional Relations, Nevada Association of School Psychologists; Rob Barsel, student, The Meadows School; Paul Timm, Vice President, Facility Engineering Associates, P.C.

More than 300 K-12 and college campus safety and security professionals took a break from the desert heat last week to attend the Campus Safety Conference West held at the beautiful M Resort, Spa and Casino in Las Vegas.

CBS-affiliated station Las Vegas Now and Fox 5 Vegas interviewed some of the event’s knowledgable and highly-respected speakers about school safety challenges facing the greater Las Vegas area.

Like many towns and cities across the country, Las Vegas school officials continue to have discussions on school safety best practices — particularly mental health — and where to best spend or save money.

CBS-affiliated station Las Vegas Now interviewed Campus Safety Conference panelists Robert Barsel, Susan Payne and Dr. Katie Dockweiler.

In early June, Clark County School District, the fifth largest school district in the country, which serves over 324,000 students and employs over 15,000 teachers, announced it planned to cut 170 dean positions. In Clark County, one of the dean’s biggest roles is overseeing campus safety and student discipline.

Fox 5 spoke to CSC keynoter Molly Hudgens, who said the most important job roles when it comes to school safety are school resource officers, counselors and deans of students.

“I had a student with a handgun and a plan to harm people come to me in the morning first thing,” recalled Hudgens, who is a counselor in the Cheatham County School District in Tennessee. “And he came because he said, ‘You’re the only person who could talk me out of this.’ And had I been dealing with a discipline issue or teaching a class or doing some type of administrative duty, I would not have been available to him.”

Guy Grace, who is head of security for Littleton Public Schools in Colorado, said due to budget cuts, his district has been relying on assistant principals to handle safety and security.

“It would be a wise decision to apply more into mental health than an administrative position,” he said.

Panelist Susan Payne, who founded anonymous tip line program Safe2Tell, reiterated Hudgens’ and Grace’s points in an interview with Las Vegas Now. Payne said the most common tips anonymous phone lines receive are regarding depression, suicide and anxiety.

“Even though those might be the top reported incidents, we’re still getting in people with weapons; we’re getting young people that are cruel to animals, and those are significant behaviors that are precipitators to violence,” Payne said.

With a successful Campus Safety Conference West in the books, we look forward to Texas, July 21-23 in Dallas, and East, August 6-8 in Charlotte, N.C., and the meaningful conversations that will undoubtedly arise.

If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time! Click here to register for CSC Texas or here to register for CSC East.

About the Author

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Amy Rock is Campus Safety's senior editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

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