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Eldorado High gets $26M in security upgrades after teacher attack

Updated July 15, 2022 - 1:42 pm

The Clark County School District will allocate $26.3 million for security upgrades at Eldorado High School after a teacher was beaten and sexually assaulted by a student in April.

Upgrades will include fencing around the perimeter of the school, the construction of a single point of entry, security camera upgrades and the installation of an instant alert system, according to a memo sent by the district’s chief of facilities, Nathan Miller.

Under Nevada law, the superintendent can approve a contract to address an emergency if it affects public health, safety or welfare. The emergency action was reported to the Clark County School Board as an information item on its agenda Thursday night.

The district referenced the recent violence at Eldorado, as well as nationwide, in an agenda item about the new security features, calling them a “life safety necessity for added protection of students and staff.”

The Eldorado teacher was attacked April 7, the day before classes let out for spring break. Police arrested Jonathan Eluterio Martinez Garcia, 16, that day about a mile from the school. He faces charges including attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and burglary.

In response to the attack, the district announced new protocols and safety measures, but students, teachers and support employees said the promised changes hadn’t been implemented as students returned from spring break.

Instant alert systems

The district did not provide details Thursday about when the upgrades at Eldorado would be completed.

This summer, the district began rolling out CrisisAlert badges for employees to use to call for immediate help from the school principal, nurse or school resource officer to the employee’s location, or to trigger a campuswide emergency lockdown.

The district said it determined which schools get priority for the alarms based on how many points of entry a school has, which schools have the most calls for service and which schools have outdated camera systems.

The district said in June that the alarms would be installed and distributed at nine high schools to start: Basic, Centennial, Cheyenne, Clark, Del Sol, Durango, Liberty, Mojave and Palo Verde. The district also will allocate $99,970 in upgrades at Clark for fencing and security camera upgrades.

According to the memo sent by Miller to the board on Thursday, each campus has unique needs based on current infrastructure, and the cost for improvements will vary.

Clark was built in 1964 and has received $65.5 million in facility upgrades since then, while Eldorado High School was built in 1972 and has received $50.3 million in facility upgrades.

In December, the school district voted unanimously to allocate $3.5 billion in facility projects over the next 14 years, including $550.8 million toward the construction of three new high schools. In June, Superintendent Jesus Jara could not answer how much the new alarm system being rolled out at district high schools would cost, instead calling it a “reallocating of dollars.”

Kamilah Bywaters, president of the Las Vegas Alliance of Black School Educators, questioned the funds being allocated toward Eldorado, calling it unfortunate that the district would provide safety measures “at this expense” for one school.

“Did we think about the impact that increasing safety measures for one school would have on the rest of our community and students?” Bywaters asked.

When asked Wednesday about details of the work at Eldorado and how it would differ from Clark, the district said in a statement that details regarding some of the upgrades would not be disclosed except to those “who need to know.”

“Security experts advise keeping exact procedures confidential to prevent people from planning ways to circumvent the security measures,” the district said. “While we would like to disclose security details so that our parents, students, and staff members feel more assured, doing so would allow those who intend to cause harm an advantage.”

Contact Lorraine Longhi at 480-243-4086 or llonghi @reviewjournal.com. Follow @lolonghi on Twitter.

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