One Roosevelt County school district is considering the possibility of arming staff members in their schools in light of last month's school shooting in Connecticut.
Dora schools Superintendent Steve Barron said school safety has been an important topic of discussion and the administration has taken steps to further secure their campus but he says some parents are asking for more.
"Our staff cares for the safety of our children," Barron said. "We're 15 minutes from town. Fifteen minutes is a long time. In the case of an emergency, we're in a world of hurt."
If Dora schools take the steps to arm their faculty and staff, it would be in line with the actions of a rural school district in East Texas that will allow some teachers and administrators with training to carry concealed weapons, making it at least the second school system in Texas to implement such a policy, according to the Associated Press.
"I have been asked by parents and they are for it," Barron said. "The (parents) that have come to me want for us to do that. I would support it."
Barron said no official action has been taken, and declined to say if staff members are carrying concealed weapons now, but he says they're waiting to see what discussion will be had on the legislative level in Santa Fe.
State and federal law dictate public schools as "gun free" zones.
"We want to know what type of safety precautions we can take," Barron said. "We'll wait and see what comes out of it (the legislative session)."
Ted Trice, superintendent of Grady schools, said he too has been concerned about the safety of his students being that they're 35 miles north of Clovis.
But Trice says the conversation amongst his school board has gone another direction from arming school faculty.
"We have taken safety measures to another level," Trice said. "We have installed cameras at most of our exits. We're in the process to install a release type lock on our front door."
Trice says rural schools follow the same laws of the public education department so he believes schools will remain gun-free zones unless those laws change.
"We won't be arming anyone here," Trice said. "I just don't think that's the right move to make."
Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Terry Myers said the school board has not formally discussed the subject of arming teachers and he generally feels that his schools are safe.
"We have an armed officer in our schools already, as well as several officers near the schools," Myers said.
Myers says he feels it's unlikely that federal law will change, but says in the best interest of protecting students, arming teachers may one day become a reality.
"As for right now, our schools will remain gun-free zones," Myers said.
Randy Fowler, superintendent of Portales Municipal Schools, said his schools are also gun-free zones and that no discussion has taken place to change that.
Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Texico, who also serves on the Education Committee, believes Texas has different style of school governments but says New Mexico only has public school districts that must follow the law requiring schools to be gun-free.
Roch said parents in district have expressed concern about the issue. One parent in his district suggested the idea of a school marshal, similar to the role of an air marshal.
"Some staff member, no one knows who, could be able to respond to a crisis," said Roch, principal at Texico Junior High. "That in itself is a deterrent (for possible shooters)."
Roch said he personally will argue for an increase in federal funding for Title 4, which will help schools build up their safety and security, using such tools as cameras, and safety fences.
"Title 4 hasn't been available for about four years now," Roch said. "New Mexico schools have plans but they don't have the resources to implement them. I'm going to push real hard to put money in the budget for safety and security."