An examination of school siting policies in the Clark County School District
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The process of school siting has significant implications for student health, particularly for additionally vulnerable low-income and minority populations. There is no national standard for siting decisions, although various individuals and organizations have conducted research on the varying siting practices across the 50 states as well as impacts of siting decisions on children’s health. In order to gain an understanding of the school siting practices in the Clark County School District in southern Nevada, the author conducted a review of the Nevada Revised Statutes, the municipal codes of Clark County, and the Cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson for school siting related language. The author then interviewed employees of the Clark County School District in an attempt to further knowledge on the particular school siting policies in place. A group of 25 schools was selected for evaluation based on available environmental factors including air quality data, spatial relationship to industrial zones, and proximity of 500 feet to freeways with an eye toward potential environmental justice implications for the respective student populations. Findings were analyzed and compared to those policies in place in California, and the author’s recommendations for policy and practice changes at the state and local levels were made to better ensure children’s health as related to school siting.
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