Metro teachers talk safety measures at schools following Texas shooting

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Thousands of students started their summer break 24 hours ahead of schedule.

Officials with Rio Rancho Public Schools decided to end the year a day early because of the tragedy in Texas earlier this week. It was bittersweet.

“I know for other staff members it was a sense of relief as well,” said Billie Helean, the president of the Rio Rancho School Employees’ Union.

She said the past few days have been incredibly tough for them.

“That potential causes nervousness and fear, not only for staff, but also for parents,” Helean said. “It’s not a fun feeling and it’s not a feeling that ever goes away.”

Ellen Bernstein, the president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, agrees.

“There is not a public school employee in the entire nation who is not horribly affected by these events,” Bernstein said.

Both RRPS and Albuquerque Public Schools have several security plans in place – locked doors during class time, intercom systems, security cameras, lock down drills and more. But there is always that terrifying thought.

“Yes, there are security measures in place and they are extensive,” Helean said. “However, a very determined person could potentially get past those safety measures and I think that is what’s on everyone’s minds right now.”

As for the next school year when classes resume, there is concern some teachers and students may not want to come back unless changes are made.

“I am certain there are,” Helean said. “I heard from a few teachers and few parents today who were very hesitant about sending their kids and coming to school and I understand it.”

“It shouldn’t be a scary thing to go to school,” Helean added. “School should be a second home.”

Albuquerque Public Schools has a portion of their website that shows all the current and future safety measures.

Rio Rancho Public Schools also has a list of safety protocols, which can be found here.