Summit to discuss school safety to begin Monday | #schoolsaftey

Following news about a firearm being found on a New Mexico high school campus, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and the New Mexico law enforcement community announced a summit to look at ways to make schools safer.

Morales announced Thursday that the Safe Schools Working Group and Advisory Council will meet Nov. 13-15 at Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel for the first annual New Mexico Safe School Summit.

“It is time that New Mexico’s leaders convene to have a broad discussion of how we protect our students and schools, Pre-K/elementary to higher education, and how we empower and train communities to create safe school environments conducive to learning,” Morales said during a press conference Thursday. 

Morales mentioned the shootings in other states such as Columbine, Uvalde, Parkland and Sandy Hook.

“But there has been a history of growing gun violence in our own schools with tragic ends,” Morales said. “In 2017, two students, Casey Jordan-Marquez and Francisco ‘Paco’ Fernandez, were lost to a shooting at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico. Their names should never be forgotten. It was the quick actions of teachers in barricading and having locked classroom doors that prevented mass casualties there.”

As a response to these shootings, school districts statewide have upgraded their security protocols as they felt the need.

The summit’s initiative is to make school safety a statewide focus.

The summit will be led by the FBI, the Safe Schools Working Group and Advisory Council of the state Public Education Department, and many other leaders from education and law enforcement, Morales said.

The summit will include 350 participants from school districts and emergency management departments from across the state. The summit is expected to include keynote speakers and breakout sessions led by community leaders, students and administrators on comprehensive safety by sharing evidence-based best practices, Morales said.

“As a parent, and former classroom teacher and coach for a decade in Grant County, ensuring that we have safe schools in New Mexico feels more urgent today than ever before in our lifetime,” Morales said. “We know the concept of school safety extends far beyond addressing the threat of violence only, important as that is. Ensuring a healthy learning environment, and a positive school climate for both students and educators, is a critical priority.”

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