LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — One of the many concerns parents have when sending their children off to school is making sure they’re safe, and a charter school on the valley’s east side is making that a priority.
But Mater Academy has a different approach, teaching kids the skills to manage their emotions.
“That halo detects vaping. Smoke. It detects THC smoke,” the Security and School Resource Officer at Mater Academy of Nevada Robert Schmidt said, pointing to a device placed in the boy’s bathroom ceiling.
Schmidt showed 8 News Now the new technology installed in all the middle and high school bathrooms of Mater Academy, which is located on Bonanza near Lamb Boulevard.
“So, if someone was to come in here and vape, and the device went off. It would naturally come to my phone, and tell me what bathroom it was in,” Schmidt said.
8 News Now met Schmidt last week at the National School Response Conference last week at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. He brought back some of that knowledge to Mater, which included paying attention to a child’s behavior.
“Once the weapon, the gun, the person is on your property. It’s almost too late. What did we do before that, before that action came?” Schmidt said.
Mater Academy has only two check-ins to its campus buildings as a way to monitor who enters and leaves. The school is surrounded by fencing and there are 188 security cameras.
Renee Fairless is the lead principal of Mater Academy. She spent more than 20 years in the Clark County School District, including being a principal at Sunrise Mountain High School.
“One of our big focuses is to build a relationship. If you build the relationship with the student, you not only learn more about that student, but you also learn about what that student is capable of doing,” Fairless said.
Mater Academy has an enrollment of 4,000 students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Fairless said it’s important to learn the back story of students.
“To make a difference in 4,000 students in the east side of Las Vegas, it seems like a big task, but one that can certainly make a huge difference,” Fairless said.
Mater Academy also has a monitoring system called “Securly” on all its computers. It looks into what students search online and whether administrators need to step in and follow up.