One of the largest school districts in America is planning to phase back into in-person learning following a rise in student suicides.
“As of December, the Clark County school district in Las Vegas, Nevada had 18 student suicides compared to the nine suicides the district saw in the past year,” Business Insider reported Sunday.
The school district is ranked the fifth-largest in the United States, according to its Twitter profile.
“When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the Covid numbers we need to look at anymore. We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them,” said Clark County superintendent Jesus Jara.
The district recently announced its plan to “allow schools to bring back high-need students in small groups,” according to the Nevada Independent:
The move, however, comes with several caveats: Principals and teachers will evaluate academic data and the social-emotional needs of students to determine whom they think would most benefit from some in-person time on campus, whether for tutoring, credit retrieval, mental health sessions or other matters. Those students would be invited on a voluntary basis, and transportation would not be provided. Staff member participation would be voluntary as well.
Jara said the youngest student who passed away recently was nine years old and “another student left a note that said they [had] nothing to look forward to,” the Insider article continued.
Former President Donald Trump urged schools to reopen after the nation’s 30 days to slow the spread, but teacher’s unions demanded schools stay closed as a matter of safety, according to Newsmax.
“I couldn’t sleep with my phone nearby anymore,” Jara said, adding, “It was like a 24-hour reminder that we need to get our schools open. I can’t get these alerts anymore. I have no words to say to these families anymore.”
“I believe in God, but I can’t help but wonder: Am I doing everything possible to open our schools? I feel responsible. They’re all my kids,” the superintendent concluded.