School security among top APS back-to-school priorities

[anvplayer video=”5126328″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As the first day of school approaches, safety concerns are paramount amid recent tragedies in Uvalde, Texas and even New Mexico, one year ago at Washington Middle School in Albuquerque.

An Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent student advisory council has reflected this in their priorities. The council is a committee of students who bring forth any concerns about school to district officials.

“So going into this year, I think it’s school safety, we’ve had a lot of discussion about protocols and if students are fully aware of that,” said Erica Ho, an APS student who is a part of the superintendent council.

APS officials have emphasized to students that ‘if you see something, say something’ but they are also taking other steps to address school safety.

“What I can assure people is that APS is at the forefront of actually trying to deal with this,” APS Superintendent Scott Elder said. “So we’ve put in a lot of fencing, we’ve been doing vestibules, we’re doing the Ring system. We’ve been doing that for a number of years.”

This year, something new is also in the mix. The FBI has provided training for educators in the state.

“This training, specifically, is to show the red flags. To identify students having problems before we were participating in training to prepare the schools on how to react to an active shooter now we are taking the time to look at the red flags and how to provide assistance to these students who are having problems,” said Ruben Marchand Morales, an assistant special agent with the FBI.

Training has already started in districts across the state, including APS whose staff returned Aug. 3 ahead of the Aug. 10 back-to-school date.