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Las Vegas school psychologists say shortage is 'school safety issue'

Posted at 9:04 PM, Nov 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-15 17:03:18-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — School psychologists in the Las Vegas valley are asking for change as the district faces a psychologist shortage.

A large group attended the Clark County School District board meeting on Thursday to discuss what they say is a school safety issue.

PREVIOUS STORY: Shortage of school psychologists leads to frustration all around

Many of the school psychologists juggle multiple schools.

One psychologist for every 500 students is recommended by the National Association of School Psychologists, but some psychologists in CCSD are saddled with more than twice that ratio.

The district currently has 30 open school psychologist positions and 40 schools don't have a psychologist at all.

Recruiting is tough because surrounding counties, such as Nye and Washoe, pay more than Clark County, as do many charter schools and neighboring states like California.

"School psychologists are critical to student well being and school safety, " said Katherine Dockweiler, past president of the Nevada Association of School Psychologists.

"We help with prevention and identifying critical needs of children early before big issues happen," Dockweiler said. "And those issues could be large incidents, such as school shootings."

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Superintendent. Dr. Jesus Jara says he has received many letters about this and that the district is looking into the issue.

"So, hopefully we will be able to see what we are hearing. And we believe you, " Dr. Jara said. "And hopefully we can carry that forward to make some decisions in the future."

Stephanie Patton is the president-elect of the Nevada Association of School Psychologists.

"We are willing to sit down with them and come up with ways that we can make sure that we have enough mental health providers, " said Patton.