NM state rep to re-introduce school security bill

By Rob Nikolewski on January 15, 2014
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By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog 

SANTA FE  – On the heels of a middle school shooting in Roswell that left one student critically injured and another in satisfactory condition, state , says she will re-introduce a bill aimed at beefing up security in New Mexico public schools.

“We have to take precautions and make sure things like this don’t happen,” Rep. Jeff told on Wednesday.

Rep. Sandra Jeff, D-Crownpoint

Last year, Jeff and state , sponsored to establish a security infrastructure fund that included creating a visual identity system for students and parents. The bill passed unanimously through the but died in the .

Jeff said she plans to file a new bill for the upcoming 30-day session that begins next Tuesday that will call for additional security measures, such as installing metal detectors at school entrances and establishing protocols to make sure doors to classrooms are locked.

Jeff said the new legislation will call for more money than last year’s bill but wouldn’t say how much more.

ROSWELL SHOOTING INCIDENT: New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez meets with a student at a prayer vigil Tuesday night following a shooting at a Roswell middle school that injured two students. Facebook photo from Nora Espinoza.

“It’s unfortunate, but that’s the world we live in,” said Jeff, who added that she plans on meeting with and to win their support.

“A lot of rural communities don’t even have a security plan,” Jeff said.

, attended a that numbered in the hundreds at the Roswell Civic Center.

“I think (Jeff’s) motives are correct,” Espinoza told New Mexico Watchdog in a telephone interview. “We want to protect our children. But my number one concern is that when a crisis so devastating as this occurs, too many times legislators jump up right away and pass bills. I’d really like to take some time and think about it. My first impression is that it needs to be done by the local school boards and they can do what’s best for their individual schools.”

Jeff said she plans on pre-filing her bill on Friday or next Monday.

The shooting occurred at about 8 a.m. Tuesday and according to reports, onto school grounds and opened fire in a gymnasium filled with about 500 students before obeying a teacher who told him to put the gun down. 

An 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were airlifted to Lubbock, Texas. The 11-year-old remained in critical condition on Wednesday while the 13-year-old was upgraded from serious to satisfactory condition.

The alleged shooter was taken to a psychiatric hospital in Albuquerque.

“We do not know all the details about this child,” Espinoza said. “But just like in 9/11, this community has come together. There is no blame going around. We’re coming together in prayer for the child and the children who were hurt.”

Contact Rob Nikolewski at and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

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