ALBUQUERQUE ― Attorney General Hector Balderas announced a proposal for immediate action on school safety planning for schools across New Mexico.
In a letter sent to New Mexico Public Education Department Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski, Attorney General Balderas details the first tier of a multi-tiered plan to bring every school in the state up to a minimum threshold of security within the next school year. The letter also highlights necessary regulatory changes that will mandate safety planning and security measures that are currently not in law and which the Office of the Attorney General’s research found what the Attorney General described as a “patchwork system” of safety initiatives that “is inherently filled with dangerous gaps.”
The letter also calls for pursuing federal funding to ensure that state funds are leveraged and that the measures can be implemented quickly.
“There is no greater duty for every public official in the State of New Mexico than keeping our children safe in school,” Balderas said. “We can no longer put the burden solely on our teachers and school administrators; it is time for all hands on deck to ensure that our laws and our funding priorities meet the safety needs of our students.”
In the wake of tragic and deadly school shootings both locally and nationally, Attorney General Balderas is recommending a comprehensive safety plan to be phased into all 89 New Mexico school districts over the next three years. This plan will ensure that all districts will have equal and adequate safety planning, as well as equal access to funding and resources to protect New Mexico children.
Providing a comprehensive safety plan will allow law enforcement from across New Mexico to accurately identify and capture potential security issues facing New Mexico schools and students.
Some of the recommendations from Attorney General Balderas include:
Inventorying every school’s policies and procedures;
School mapping (as discussed above);
Push button locks in all classrooms;
Adequate public address systems and phone systems with enhanced 911 features and staff trained to used them.
Attorney General Balderas has invited Secretary Ruszkowski to co-host a forum, intended to intended to bring together relevant stakeholders to provide insight into these recommendations, how we can expedite implementation and more, and further discuss issues relating to school safety.