LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — While schools work to tighten security, education experts are putting just as much effort into finding ways to treat the social and emotional problems that contribute to school violence.
Social-emotional learning was a popular term for panelists at the Communities in Schools Forum held Tuesday at the Springs Preserve.
"Research suggests before targeted violence like a school shooting ever happens there have been multiple opportunities to intervene," Dr. Tiffany Tyler with Communities in Schools Nevada said.
But the forum on school safety focused on more than school shootings with panelists discussing the impacts of bullying and other threats that often lead to mass violence.
"Kids today face more adverse childhood experience than we did," Dale Erquiaga, the National CEO of Communities in Schools said. "It really is different for kids today, and I think we have to be more patient because of the circumstances kid live in."
CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara said dealing with chronic stress is a problem when it comes to teaching students, citing a recent survey that found 20 percent of students in the district don't feel safe.
"If you are worried about the basic, safety and food, you can't learn," Jara said.
Tackling the issue is easier said than done, with district working to find ways for teachers, counselors, and other district staff to teach coping skills to students.
The problems aren't limited to campuses.
"Our kids are bringing street problems into our schools, and that is why this community needs to be behind the work we are doing," Jara said. "As much as we are the experts, we need the community to buy in."
While parents talking to their children is the first line of defense, those studying the problems nationally say character building or social-emotional lessons can be imparted by anyone in the community "modeling the way" for children.
"I don't really care what word you pick. Children need relationships in their lives, children need to know that adults care about them," Erquiaga said.
Those experts say it can be as simple as asking a student in your life how they are doing, letting them know you care.