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National pilot program aims to address school violence

Project Unite NASRO
Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 00:44:41-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As many in the Las Vegas community are calling on the Clark County School District to address recent violent incidents both on and off school campuses, the National Association of School Resource Officers says it has a training program aimed at tackling that issue.

Videos showing chaotic scenes on school campuses, including one Thursday morning at Desert Oasis High School, have called attention to the issue within Clark County schools. Mo Canady, the executive director of NASRO, says he's not surprised to see something like that.

“They’re going through the second-most massive period of brain development in their lives, and that’s a lot to take in," Canady said.

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What's more, Canady says the pandemic has taken a toll on adolescents with a period of isolation and return. His organization is highlighting Project Unite, a training program focused on getting different members of school staff into a team that addresses student behavior and violence.

“It can be school nurses, mental health specialists, school counselors,” he said.

The team would be trained in handling issues like culture and climate on campus, for example. Canady says this one aspect is crucial in interrupting violence at schools.

“We've got to figure out a way to reprogram ourselves a little bit around what’s your first reaction to a critical incident,” he said.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: School safety: Concerns over violence in the Clark County School District

Ultimately, he says while the school has steps it can take addressing school violence, it also needs to happen with parents.

“We can’t stand there and let someone assault another person and do nothing about it,” he said.

Canady says the organization is offering the pilot training program to any school district willing to host it.

Project Unite is funded through a grant issued by the U.S. Department of Justice. It was developed through a partnership with the University of Colorado–Boulder’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, I Love U Guys Foundation, Safe and Sound Schools and the National Policing Institute.