Updated December 4, 2023 - 7:26 pm
A national nonprofit organization formed last year in response to the Uvalde school shooting in Texas plans to send volunteer patrols to Las Vegas following the fatal beating of a 17-year-old student last month.
In a Friday news release, the Uvalde Foundation For Kids — which aims to end school violence —said it plans to deploy patrol teams to areas around Rancho High and other Clark County School District campuses to “address immediate student safety concerns.”
The foundation said the decision follows “months of research and the recent spike in student violence and safety concerns,” including the fatal beating of a Rancho High student. Jonathan Lewis Jr., 17, was attacked by a group of about 10 teenagers during a Nov. 1 fight in an alleyway near the school. He died Nov. 7.
Volunteers — who are unarmed and don’t enter school property without permission — undergo a background check and training, the foundation said.
It’s unclear when patrols will begin, where they’ll occur, how long they’ll last and how many volunteers the organization aims to have in Las Vegas.
The foundation said in the news release that it aims to patrol school perimeters to prevent safety incidents from reaching school campuses, and to provide support for students and neighborhoods.
The foundation was unavailable to comment Monday.
The Clark County School District said in a Monday statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the foundation hasn’t contacted the district to discuss efforts regarding a volunteer patrol at any CCSD campuses.
“As with other community organizations, like Dads In Schools, this group must obtain approval and vetting for background checks and necessary training from the District before volunteers would be allowed on any campus,” the district wrote.
School districts across the country are experiencing violence from students and adults, and “CCSD is no exception, but we are committed to addressing these issues through coordinated and community-wide involvement,” according to the statement.
The district also said its police department has 186 officers and works in conjunction with other local law enforcement agencies.
The Uvalde Foundation For Kids was created following a mass shooting in May 2022 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers.
The organization said its “STOPNOW” volunteer patrols are modeled after the Guardian Angels organization in New York City.
The nonprofit said its volunteer patrols are underway in several places recently affected by shootings and threats. They include the Covenant School in Nashville, Morgan State University in Maryland and Michigan State University.
Rebecca Garcia, an administrator for the “CCSD Parents” Facebook group, said Monday that she has long heard from parents that it’s important to have adults on campuses — especially, high schools with so many students.
She said her question is what exactly the volunteer patrols will be doing and how are they being trained to engage with youth.
Without more information, Garcia said, it’s hard to know how the volunteers would positively affect campuses.
She also cited the need to not just respond after very sad and tragic incidents occur but to focus attention earlier on ensuring children (and schools) have the support and services they need so these things don’t happen.
“One thing won’t solve school violence,” Garcia said. “It does need a community effort.”