LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County School District psychologists took a stand at Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting; they said there just aren’t enough of them on hand to protect valley children.
Each psychologist attended the meeting wearing a shirt showing numbers from 1,500 to 3,000. They represented the number of students each person is responsible for every single day.
They told 8 News Now these numbers are way too high, adding that they could ultimately lead to dangerous situations.
“There was another school shooting in California today,” CCSD school psychologist Michelle Nathan said during the meeting’s public comment portion. “We can help prevent those, too.”
With mental health top of mind, over a dozen psychologists stood up to share their passionate pleas with CCSD’s Board of Trustees.
“I love kids, I love working with kids,” CCSD psychologist and Nevada Association of School Psychologists President-Elect Stephanie Patton told 8 News Now. “We help intervene if there are crises on campus; we decide if a student is homicidal or suicidal.”
Patton is responsible for 2,800 students at three different schools across CCSD. That’s well above the national, recommended average of one school psychologist for every 500 to 700 children.
“I went to two different schools in one day,” Patton explained. “It’s impossible for me to see if there are any warning signs.”
Since she and her colleagues are spread so thin, Patton said it’s harder to spot a student in crisis. She said this can ultimately sacrifice school safety.
“Shortages in school psychology is clearly a public hazard,” CCSD school psychologist Alison Clark said.
Therefore, those who attended Thursday’s meeting hope this conversation sparks real action and leads to a safer classroom climate.
“I’m not asking for Santa Claus to pull off a Christmas miracle,” CCSD school psychologist Michael Ruby said. “I’m asking for the board to review the facts.”
“Many of our students come to school just to survive,” Clark said. “Not thrive.”
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara said The Council of Great City Schools will evaluate CCSD’s school psychology department next week.