School District Statement Regarding Student And Staff Safety

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School District Statement Regarding Student And Staff Safety

School Board schedules work session June 6 to address issues raised by tasing of a student.

ESPANOLA, NM – Espanola Public Schools and the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office have a collaborative relationship that is intended to provide additional safety and security on School District campuses for the School District’s students, staff and families. Given national tragedies occurring on school campuses, there are incredible benefits to having a law enforcement officer located on a school campus.

However, the School District is greatly concerned about the recent tasing of a student on campus by a deputy of the Rio Arriba Sheriff’s Office. It is important for a law enforcement officer to understand that the officer is operating in a school setting, not out on the street, and that students will have bad days or special needs, but do not need to be tased, physically restrained, or incarcerated by law enforcement for daily disciplinary situations.

Specialized training for law enforcement officers working on a school campus is essential for students and staff to have a safe educational environment typically governed by a disciplinary process, not an environment governed by threats of incarceration for otherwise disciplinary matters. The School District is committed to working with the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement to develop protocols for a safe educational environment for our students and staff.

The Espanola Public Schools Board of Education has scheduled a work session at 5:30 p.m. June 6 at the Educational Services Center Board Room, 405 Hunter Street, to begin examining the best practices for working with law enforcement to provide a safe school environment and to avoid any unnecessary criminalization of disciplinary matters. The use of law enforcement safety resource officers on a school campus should not only provide safety for students and staff but also should be an opportunity for students, staff, and law enforcement officers to develop relationships based on trust and positive interactions.