New Mexico lawmakers aim to crack down on abusive teachers

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico state Senate has unanimously passed a bill to expand background checks on school employees.

It also directs state agencies to more closely track teachers who abuse children and mandated school staff and volunteers to take training on how to recognize and report abuse.

The Public Schools Insurance Authority says the number of abuse cases stemming from public schools has decreased in recent years.

But the severity of the cases has increased, and so have the court settlements for victims.

Settlements don’t affect individual school budgets but have driven up liability insurance costs for schools by 9% since 2018.