Active Shooter Drill passes Senate – Ruidoso News
At the national level, there has been no understanding or set policy on how to respond to school shootings
Time and time again, active shooters find their way to school campuses, office buildings and areas of mass transportation. Over the years, threats on social media and in student lockers have been discovered creating great concern by school administration and local government officials throughout the state of New Mexico.
SB 147 takes aim at better protecting students and school personnel requiring an active shooter drill in schools throughout the state. The bill passed the Senate with a 37-0 vote which will now move on to the house. However it still needs to be signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to become a law.
The bill will free up more time in classrooms each year by reducing the high number of fire drills. Under the bill, the current total number of 14 drills would be reduced to 8, with four of them being fire drills instead of the current ten fire drills.
“We are already participating in active shooter drills, along with fire drills and evacuation drills,” Superintendent of Ruidoso Municipal School District Dr. Geroge Bickert said.
In 2018 during a 21 week period there were 23 school shootings resulting in someone hurt or killed: this equals more than one shooting per week at a school with 113 people that have been killed or injured in the United States in 180 days, as reported.
Campaigns for tighter gun control have been on the rise over several years while the proposal of allowing staff and teachers to have a weapon on campuses has escalate with concern.
The bill would incorporate that any one making a threat at a school would make them guilty of assault in the 4th degree if:
- 1 (a): if it is determined that the assault has intentionally or wantonly caused physical injury to another person and
- 1 (b): it is with recklessness the physical injury to another person is made by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument
- 2: assault in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor
If a person is found guilty of any of these charges they may receive six-18 months jail time and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Mass shootings and killings have occurred by copy-cats recreating similar shootings and crimes which occur too frequently. This brings new light to training and the need for schools to be prepared and take all threats seriously.
“Staff at each of our campuses go through active shooter training and we begin to participate in drills early in the school year,” Bickert said.
The list of teenagers, guns and innocent victims are growing at an overwhelming pace. The suspects may be as young as 12 but it has been reported that most of them are 16 or 17 years old, and more likely to be male.
At the national level, there has been no understanding or set policy on how to respond to school shootings, yet opinions from both sides have faced off in round-robin disagreements over the years with much debate.
“We are partnered with Lincoln County Safe Schools Organization which is a county wide committee put together by Ruidoso Police Department (RPD) Chief Darren Hooker. If SB 147 passes, it would require us to participate in what we are already doing. We take a very active role in drills at the schools here,” Bickert said.
Lock Downs At Schools: Safety First
Ruidoso High School has participated in both mock lock downs and real lock downs due to threats from a student or an outside force. This creates chaos and fear, not only for the students, but staff and teachers must be able to react quickly in order to protect children and others.
“We have had a few situations in the past requiring lock down. One was when two students made threats on Facebook. So, we locked down the schools until it was cleared by the RPD. However, after we were cleared, a parent had exaggerated further on Facebook what had actually happened, creating the need for further investigation. In actuality, we were cleared by 10 a.m. by the RPD. False information had been given to a parent by a student which the parent, in turn, posted on social media,” Bickert said.
Reaction time can make all the difference when it comes to any life or death situation. Being able to maintain a clear mind and think before reacting is a part of the necessary training it takes to handle such serious events.
“Safety of students is paramount and emergency drills are important in New Mexico public schools. The high number of outdated fire drills are no longer needed because of the successful fire suppression systems and technology in schools, noting the last deaths in a school in the U.S. because of a fire was in 1958,” sponsor of the bill, Senator Craig Brandt, said
Because fire drills can use a lot of resources, like city fire trucks that are called out for the drills and that could be used better actually fighting fires, active drills can free-up the amount of calls to 911 for non-emergency reasons.
About Senator Craig Brandt
Brandt of Rio Rancho has served in the New Mexico Senate since 2013, and is a sponsor of SB 147. Senator Brandt, a Republican, serves on the following committees when the legislature is in session: Senate Education and Senate Public Affairs.
His Community Service has also included being Vice-President of the Rio Rancho School Board and he is a veteran who served in the United States Air Force as a Security Policeman.
Pamela L. Bonner can be reached at 575-202-5555, Pbonner@Ruidosonews.com or at 575-257-4001 ext. 4102.
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